Former tech CEO convicted in US college admissions scandal | News from the United States and Canada


A former tech executive was sentenced to one year in prison on Monday for paying $ 300,000 to bribe his son’s entry to Georgetown University as a tennis rookie, even though the son didn’t has not played tennis.Peter Dameris, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Appeared before a judge in Boston federal court via video due to the coronavirus pandemic. He pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud for honest services.

His sentence also included a fine of $ 95,000 and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors recommended 21 months’ house arrest and a fine of $ 95,000. Dameris’ lawyers have asked for probation only, saying he deserves to be lenient to help care for a son with leukemia.

US District Judge Richard Stearns said he factored medical considerations into the sentence, as well as a “wave” of support from friends and family who submitted letters to the court.

“I really care for your family and understand your angst,” Stearns told Dameris. “You have lived a great life and I believe you deserve a reward for it.”

Speaking through tears, Dameris said he regrets his involvement in the project and takes full responsibility for it.

“I have tremendous remorse for the actions that have brought me before you today,” Dameris said. “My life sentence is that I am overwhelmed by the memories of what I did that hurt my family and others.”

Dameris, the former CEO of technology services firm ASGN Inc, joins dozens of parents and college coaches who have pleaded guilty to a massive nationwide college admissions scandal.

Prosecutors said Dameris agreed in 2015 to funnel the money through a fictitious charity set up by Rick Singer, the alleged leader of the scheme. Singer transferred about half of the money to former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who helped get Dameris’ son accepted as a tennis rookie, prosecutors said.

During court filings, Dameris apologized for influencing the admissions system, but said he believed the money was going to Georgetown sports programs. Prosecutors said there was no evidence Dameris was aware of any personal bribes to Ernst.

Singer has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government investigation into what authorities have dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, a series of indictments that rocked the worlds of higher education, sports and entertainment.

Ernst, who is accused of accepting $ 2.7 million in bribes, has pleaded not guilty. He resigned from Georgetown in 2018.

Dameris admitted that he subsequently considered the plan for his other son but did not follow it. Neither son was involved and his son from Georgetown was allowed to stay and graduate.

More than 50 parents, coaches and others have been charged since investigators revealed the regime last year. Parents have paid big bribes to take their children to top universities with fake test results or fake sports diplomas, authorities said.

Prosecutors called for jail time for most of the parents accused in the program, but said house arrest was warranted in Dameris’ case because of his “unusual and compelling personal circumstances.”

Other people who have pleaded guilty include Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli. Loughlin was sentenced to two months in jail as part of a plea, and Giannulli was sentenced to five months. The couple admitted to paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as rookies.

Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman also pleaded guilty to paying $ 15,000 for someone to rig her daughter’s college entrance exam. Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in prison.


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