A California woman who paid to have her son’s ACT scores fixed and falsely listed him as a racial minority on his college applications was sentenced to three weeks in jail Wednesday, CBS News reported.
Marjorie Klapper, 51, pleaded guilty in May after shelling out $15,000 to rig her son’s exam scores as part of the widespread scandal involving dozens of famous, wealthy parents looking to get their kids into top schools.
Prosecutors said Klapper, who owns a jewelry business in Menlo Park, California, also lied that her son was African-American and Latino in an effort to boost his chances of being accepted into college. Additionally, she listed him as a first-generation student — despite she and her husband having graduated from college.
Attorneys for Klapper said the scheme’s ringleader, college prep adviser William “Rick” Singer, had passed off her son as a minority without her knowledge. She went along with the scam, they said, because her childs struggles with a “learning disability,” and she wanted him to feel like a “regular” student.
“Mrs. Klapper’s motives were maternal but her execution misguided and illegal,” her attorneys wrote.
According toThe Associated Press, Klapper pleaded guilty to a count of fraud and conspiracy in a deal with federal prosecutors and recently became the ninth parent to be sentenced in the far-reaching college admissions scandal. The case, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, is considered the largest college bribery scandal ever prosecuted in the U.S.
Prosecutors sought four months jail time for Klapper and a fine of $20,000, arguing that fibbing about her son’s race had “increased the likelihood that her fraud would come at the expense of an actual minority candidate.”
“Ms. Klapper thereby not only corrupted the standardized testing system, but also specifically victimized the real minority applicants already fighting for admission to elite schools,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement.
Aside from her sentence, Klapper has been ordered to pay a fine of $9,500 and complete 250 hours of community service.
Seven other parents have been dealt prison terms, ranging from 14 days to 5 months, including ‘Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman who reported to federal prison in California this week to begin her 14-day jail sentence, the New York Post reported. Fellow actress Lori Loughlin, who’s accused of paying $500,000 to get her daughters into USC, is expected to get a much harsher sentence after pleading not guilty.
Trials are scheduled to begin in 2020.