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Judge sends Atherton mom to prison for college admissions scandal

Original post made on Mar 31, 2020

An Atherton woman who paid more than $500,000 to help her children get into college through a nationwide admissions scandal was sentenced on Tuesday to seven months in prison, according to prosecutors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 4:21 PM

Comments (19)

25 people like this
Posted by fubar
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 31, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Our system is too likely to jail when other options might work. They hurt the commons by cheating on it to place their daughter in a school, but they could fix that by, say, being made to fund say, 4 scholarships for needy students plus community service. Instead, they'll go to jail, possibly a death sentence in Pandemic times w/o doing the commons much good.


47 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:01 pm

Whatever happened to the family from China that paid 6.5 million to get their daughter into Stanford? Why were no legal proceedings brought against them or their daughter? Is she still allowed to stay in the US?


60 people like this
Posted by Life Goes On
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:28 pm

Thanks for publicizing this. Unfortunately, it'll probably be a cushy prison. Felicity Huffman served 13 days in Dublin, CA: "Inmates can sunbathe on the weekends, but they have to wear a shirt and shorts. They can watch the lobby television until 8:45 p.m. during the week or 11:45 p.m. on weekends" Web Link These people have not learned their lessons, they just regret that they were caught.

[Portion removed.]


24 people like this
Posted by Shame on Them
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:32 am

Shame on the people who did this kind of stuff in order to get their kids into famous universities, by doing that they are taking the spot of other students who worked hard, and had great grades.


35 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:42 am

Posted by fubar, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> Our system is too likely to jail when other options might work. They hurt the commons

This was one of the most egregious cases out there, with numerous frauds committed over 3-4 years. As with any similar fraud, you can't easily identify who the actual victims were, but, it is likely that there were actual victims.


54 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:48 am

Hey Fubar:

So, what you recommend is that "get caught = pay a fine". Nice. Woman now wants to serve sentence AT HOME IN HER ATHER TON ESTATE!!!.

What law can I quickly break where I can do this? happy to pay a fine (Her's is like 0.05 percent of net worth) and get to spend the next 6-9 months in an acre plus compound in Atherton with putting green and plenty of space for my kids to play ball, run around.

You know there is a legal way to buy your kids into college, sure it is a bit more expensive, but it is considered legal even at Harvard. Buy a building, provide a huge endowment/scholarship fund, etc.? But no, they spend $500K on clearly not so bright kids for multiple fraudulent tests (why the need for so many???) and a $400,000 tennis placement bribe.

I think she should immediately have to serve her sentence. She is a convicted fellon.


2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:49 am

Web Link

Bill McGlashan was my teammate on the 7th grade football team at Terman Junior High in 1976. He is #60, I’m #24 in the photo I’ve linked to.
I know at least one guy, the QB of the team, from his high school class (Priory) who stays in contact with him.
Bill had hired, last I heard, a very good former US Attorney to defend against the charges.


18 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:01 pm

The United States does need some other punishment options. I suggest flogging as in Singapore or being locked in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruit by the public.


30 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Lock the cheaters up!!!!! Make an example of them. Taking a slot from a student that worked like a dog and deserved to be there, is disgusting. The lowest of the low. Any other cheaters out there should get the same. You will be caught!

The Stanford girl left and returned home to China.


30 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 2:11 pm

@fubar,

I am generally sympathetic for many kinds of defendants with alternative punishments.

This kind of defendant presents a sense of entitlement and superiority. By her actions, she shows that she is entirely willing to spend money to get what she wants. Having her pay fines without jail terms is just another way of acting entitled.

The one thing she doesn't want is the loss of her freedom. Asking to be allowed to spend her sentence at home to avoid the coronavirus is just another way of expressing her superiority.

We are left with the jail penalty.


18 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 3:24 pm

I agree she needs to spend time in prison and sit and think about what she's done. Paying a "fine" when you're living in Atherton is absurd. Not only did she take a spot from someone else who deserved to be there, she's hindering her own children. N She's sending a message that cheating is okay, and she's hindering her child once her child enters college. College is rigorous enough (especially at top schools) and your child can't possibly compete academically if you're cheating your way in. Throw in being young (partying, dating, sports, holding down a job, etc.) and you have a recipe for disaster, and a child who drops out of college. Shame on these parents. We all want our kids to succeed, but what the heck was she thinking?


5 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Life goes on.
Wow you don’t think she should be in a cushy prison while the person who arranged all these transactions get to go scot free because of a plea deal. Those are the people who should be getting locked up.


5 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm

@roger,

The planner's trial has not been held. My guess is that he will get a larger penalty than any other perpetrator.


8 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm

The guards should beware of a Beef Wellington with a file concealed inside...


11 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm

The poor girl will to settle for Prosecco instead of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne for her dinner for a few months.


26 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2020 at 10:58 am

**Fubar**

This individual used her wealth to attain a privilege for her children that they didn't deserve. You cannot let her use her wealth again to attain a privilege that she doesn't deserve ( No jail time ).


16 people like this
Posted by RMK66
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm

To ask for home confinement after spending an egregious amount of money to cheat on the college admissions is disgusting, self entitled behavior! Go to jail!!


5 people like this
Posted by Shawn Polk
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:02 pm

I dont dont understand why the sympathy for these people, their really getting off easy. Tanya McDowell was arrested in 2011 after enrolling her then 5-year-old son, Andrew, into the wrong school district.and sentenced to 4yrs.Is that because she was African american and not rich? We need to stop promoting these elitist.


6 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm

If she were African-American or Latina, she would be spending a few years in prison.


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