Two real estate executives may be headed to jail in the massive college admissions cheating scandal that was broken open last month, and which also involved high-profile Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin among the nearly 50 indicted conspirators.
Robert Flaxman, CEO and co-founder of Crown Realty and Development and Bruce Isackson, president of the California-based WP Investments, are both pleading guilty for their roles in the highly-publicized college admissions fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced on Monday.
The executives and actresses were among the many other well-to-do parents named in the indictments, who were said to have paid off William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions and student coach, in order to illegally secure placement for their teenage children at universities through bribing admission officials and falsifying test scores.
Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, California, is joined by 14 others including Huffman in pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Flaxman, according to the U.S. Attorney, agreed to pay Singer, $75,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for his daughter.
“The conspiracy involved bribing SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test taker to secretly take college entrance exams in place of students, or to correct the students’ answers after they had taken the exam, and bribing university athletic coaches and administrators to facilitate the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Flaxman faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater and is ordered to pay restitution determined by the court. The attorney is recommending jail time at the low end of the sentencing range and a $40,000 fine, as well as restitution to be determined, according to the plea.
Flaxman’s company Crown Realty and Development is behind high-profile projects like Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and the Montelucia resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic and the Venice Crossroads project, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Isackson, 61, of Hillsborough, California, was charged separately and along with his wife Davina Isackson, plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Isackson and his wife agreed to pay Singer a total of $600,000 to participate in the college exam cheating scheme for their younger daughter, as well as a college recruitment scheme for both of their daughters. That recruitment scheme included using fake athlete profiles to get their daughters into college as athletic recruits.
They are also said to have underpaid federal income taxes by deducting the bribe payments as purported charitable contributions.
WP Investments develops and manages commercial real estate buildings throughout the Bay Area. The company no longer lists Isackson as president.
The first two counts come with a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, fines and restitution. The third count comes with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, fines and restitution.
The attorney is recommending jail time on the low end of the sentencing guidelines, a fine of $150,000 and restitution of approximately $140,000.