Greenwich Man Charged in Connection With College Entrance Cheating Scheme

The US Attorney from the District of Massachusetts announced charges for 50 people involved with college entrance cheating fraud, and a Connecticut parent is on that list.

Two of the highest profile people to be indicted in the case include Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. 

Federal prosecutors allege wealthy parents paid "enormous sums" to guarantee their children's admission to elite universities. The students would allegedly be labeled as recruited athletes when they were not — with some going as far as photoshopping their faces onto stock sports images — by a consulting company at the heart of the scheme, which is also accused of bribing college entrance exam administrators to let a Florida man to take the tests on the students' behalf or replace their answers with his own.

According to a federal complaint, Greenwich resident Gordon Caplan participated in the cheating scheme, paying $75,000 to a non-profit operated by a college prep company located in California. Investigators say that money was a payout after the company corrected answers on his daughter’s ACT exam.

“Today we have charged three people who organized these scams, two SAT or ACT exam administrators, one exam proctor, one college administrator, nine coaches at elite schools, and 33 parents who paid enormous sums to guarantee their children's admission to certain schools through the use of bribes and fake academic and athletic credentials,” announced US Attorney Andrew Lelling of the District of Massachusetts Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Caplan was caught on a federal wiretap discussing the price to have his daughter’s answers on her ACT test changed. Federal prosecutors released excerpts of the conversation between Caplan and William Rick Singer, the now-indicted founder of “The Key” – a college prep company.

Here’s part of the exchange:

“I own two schools,” Singer told Caplan, referring to SAT and ACT testing sites. “I can have her test at one of my schools and I can guarantee her a score”

“It’s $75,000 to get any test scores you would like to get on the SAT or ACT.”

“I don’t want it to be higher than 32,” Caplan said of his daughter’s ACT score.

The highest score you can achieve on an ACT test is a 36.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Caplan for comment but has not yet heard back.

The scandal also included acts of alleged tax fraud, after Singer agreed to shield the payments for bribes as charitable contributions to his company's non-profit, called Key Worldwide Foundation, which allowed the wealthy parents to write off the bribes on their taxes, according to prosecutors.

No students were charged. Authorities said in many cases, the teens were not aware of the fraud.

One of the unsealed court documents included indictments against former Yale University women's soccer coach Rudolph "Rudy" Meredith, who has been charged with two counts of wire fraud. 

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