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Crime Tennis coach to plead guilty in college admissions scheme

21:16  15 september  2021
21:16  15 september  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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Rhode Island tennis legend Gordon Ernst, who formerly coached at Georgetown, has agreed to plead guilty in connection with his role in the college admissions cheating scheme that embroiled actress Lori Loughlin and other high-profile people, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building © Steven Senne/AP, FILE

Ernst has been charged with allegedly taking nearly $3 million in bribes to pass off certain high school students as Georgetown tennis recruits.

MORE: Lori Loughlin sentenced to 2 months in prison for role in college admissions scandal

He has agreed to plead guilty to five separate counts, including conspiracy, federal programs bribery and filing false tax returns, according to the documents.

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a man wearing a suit and tie: Gordon Ernst, former Georgetown tennis coach, departs federal court in Boston after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, March 25, 2019. © Steven Senne/AP, FILE Gordon Ernst, former Georgetown tennis coach, departs federal court in Boston after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, March 25, 2019.

“Defendant expressly and unequivocally admits that he committed the crimes charged in Counts Four through Seven and Twenty-One of the Second Superseding Indictment, did so knowingly, intentionally and willfully, and is in fact guilty of those offenses,” the document said.

In exchange for Ernst’s plea federal prosecutors in Boston have agreed to recommend a sentencing of no more than four years in prison followed by two years of supervised release. He would also have to forfeit more than $3 million.

Ernst coached at Georgetown for 12 years. In that time prosecutors have alleged he accepted bribes to get at least a dozen applicants into Georgetown as tennis recruits even though some of them did not play competitive tennis.

'Varsity Blues' trial promises fresh insights in old scandal

  'Varsity Blues' trial promises fresh insights in old scandal BOSTON (AP) — The first trial in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions bribery scandal will begin this week, with the potential to shed light on investigators' tactics and brighten the spotlight on a secretive school selection process many have long complained is rigged to favor the rich. Jury selection is beginning Wednesday in federal court in Boston in the case against two parents — former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples and Gap Inc. executive John Wilson — who are accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to help get their kids into the University of Southern California by falsely presenting them as athletic recruits.

Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli had paid $500,000 to scheme mastermind Rick Singer to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing team recruits, even though their daughers weren't competitive athletes.

The parents were among 50 suspects charged in the investigation dubbed Varsity Blues, which found wealthy parents who cheated college applications and entrance exams to get their children into elite schools. In some cases, parents bribed coaches who falsified students' athletics histories, including an instance where a real athlete's photo was manipulated to look like one of the students, prosecutors said.

MORE: Lori Loughlin getting out of prison in time for New Year’s Eve

The "Full House" actress was sentenced to serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service, while her husband, a fashion designer, was sentenced to serve five months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Massachusetts.

Loughlin was released from prison in December 2020. Giannulli was released in April.

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