Look, Manuel Henriquez didn’t want to go to jail. The hedge fund manager’s lawyers made that very clear when asking for a term at the “low end” of the sentencing range for his having paid close to a half-million to fraudulently get his kids into college, as well as helping get another kid fraudulently into his alma mater. The low end of the range was zero months in prison.
But Henriquez did go to prison, as did former PIMCO CEO Douglas Hodge, former TPG Growth founder Bill McGlashan, former Wilkie Farr co-chairman Gordon Caplan, and of course Felicity Huffman, Aunt Becky and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli. We’re sure none of them wanted to go, and that none of them liked it one bit. But none of them served more than nine months in prison. In spite of not only not getting the low end of the range but the very highest, Henriquez appears to have spent less than three months in the pokey.
Which brings us to private-equity executive John Wilson. He opted not to grovel before court and prosecutor, and, well….
Mr. Abdelaziz and Mr. Wilson were both convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud; Mr. Wilson alone was found guilty of additional fraud and bribery charges and of filing a false tax return for taking a deduction for a payment that the government called a bribe.
They face up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges. But experts said that under the sentencing guidelines they would get far less, perhaps less than three years for Mr. Abdelaziz and less than five years for Mr. Wilson.
However much Wilson has convinced himself that he’s a victim for paying $1.2 million in bribes to get his kids into Harvard, Stanford and USC—and we have no doubt that he, like many rich and privileged white people, has a near-limitless capacity for baseless self-pity and grievance—surely spending a few months in a white-collar federal resort is preferable to a few years. Even a private-equity executive ought to be able to do that math. Instead he stands as a stark lesson to the 10 remaining defendants in Operation Varsity Blues cases, and most especially those proud parents set to stand trial themselves next year: Take your chances with a jury at your own risk.
The verdict was a swift, resounding victory for the prosecution. The jury came into the courtroom a little after 2:30 p.m. Friday, just more than 24 hours after it began deliberating. The court clerk read the verdict form, pronouncing each man’s name and a separate “guilty” verdict, over and over again, five times for the charges they had in common, and another six times for Mr. Wilson, a crushing pile of guiltys.
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