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Ex-Georgetown Tennis Coach Gets 2.5-Year Term in Admissions Scandal

Former Georgetown University tennis coach Gordon Ernst was sentenced in Boston federal court to two and a half years in prison for his role in the sprawling Varsity Blues college admissions cheating scheme. It is the longest prison sentence for any of the 48 people sentenced so far in the multimillion-dollar fraud and bribery case, the Wall Street Journal reports. In all, 57 people were charged and nearly all pleaded guilty or were convicted. Ernst, 55, pleaded guilty last year to bribery conspiracy, bribery and filing a false tax return, admitting to taking $3.4 million in bribes in exchange for tagging at least 22 Georgetown applicants as tennis recruits, whether or not they actually played. Getting such a designation nearly guarantees admission for the prospective students. Ernst admitted to taking bribes through William “Rick” Singer, mastermind of the scheme, who has confessed to racketeering, fraud and money laundering conspiracy, as well as obstruction of justice. Ernst admitted to receiving direct payments from other parents under separate arrangements. One of those parents, Amin Khoury, was acquitted by a jury last month of bribery and bribery and fraud conspiracy charges. Prosecutors said Mr. Ernst accepted more than $3.4 million in bribe payments over the course of a decade, beginning around 2008, and that in some years he used up to five of his six allotted recruitment slots for students whose families had paid bribes. Ernst’s legal team likened the coach to Icarus, flying too close to the sun with ultimately dire consequences. They said he was surrounded by wealth at Georgetown, but earned a paltry salary and wanted to provide his own family with the same opportunities and luxuries his students had. “He got carried away, got in deeper every year and, like Icarus, was destined to come crashing down,” his attorneys said.