September 26, 2019 / 6:40 PM / 21 days ago

Third parent sentenced to prison in U.S. college admissions scandal

(Reuters) - The father of a former Georgetown University student was sentenced on Thursday to four months in prison, the third parent in the sweeping U.S. college admissions bribery scandal to draw jail time, federal prosecutors said.

FILE PHOTO: Stephen Semprevivo (R), an executive at privately held provider of outsourced sales teams facing charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, leaves the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

Stephen Semprevivo, 53, a Los Angeles executive, was also ordered by Boston U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to pay a $100,000 fine, remain on supervised release for two years and provide 500 hours of community service, prosecutors said.

The sentence, one-third the prison time but twice the amount of supervised release recommended by prosecutors with U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in Boston, follows Semprevivo’s guilty plea in May to conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

In all, 50 celebrities, business people, athletic coaches and others have been charged in the scandal in which parents allegedly paid bribes to get their children into prestigious universities.

Two other defendants have drawn prison sentences. Actress Felicity Huffman, 56, was sentenced this month to two weeks in federal prison, and California businessman Devin Sloane, 53, on Tuesday drew a fourth-month sentence.

Prosecutors said Semprevivo paid $400,000 to William “Rick” Singer, the California consultant at the centre of the scandal, to help his son, Adam Semprevivo, enter Georgetown as a tennis recruit, even though he did not play competitive tennis.

Singer then paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst to admit the younger Semprevivo to the university in 2016, prosecutors said.

Ernst, who left Georgetown in 2018, pleaded not guilty in March to a federal racketeering conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors said the younger Semprevivo was among at least 12 students who Ernst designated as tennis recruits from 2012 to 2018, in exchange for Ernst’s accepting more than $2.7 million of bribes from Singer.

In May, Georgetown expelled Adam Semprevivo, a 21-year-old psychology major who just completed his junior year, after he sued the university over his treatment, including its refusal to let him transfer to another school and keep his academic credits, his lawyer said at the time.

No students have been criminally charged. Some of the 33 parents who have been charged have said they tried to shield their children from what they were doing.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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