Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Parent Sentenced Virtually in College Admissions Scandal

Elizabeth Henriquez, the latest Georgetown University parent sentenced in the college admissions scandal, was given seven months in prison at Boston Federal Court. 

Elizabeth Henriquez and her husband, Manuel Henriquez, reportedly paid $400,000 to have one of their daughters Isabelle Henriquez falsely designated as a Georgetown tennis recruit in 2016. The pair additionally paid for the use of a fraudulent test proctor on college entrance examinations for both of their daughters on four separate occasions.

Elizabeth Henriquez was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and with conspiracy to commit money laundering alongside her husband in April 2019. Henriquez’s sentencing hearing was held on a video conference with the Boston Federal Court on March 31. She was sentenced to seven months in prison, two years of supervised release and 300 hours of community service. She was also ordered to pay a $200,000 fine.

KIRK ZIESER/THE HOYA | Federal prosecutors originally sought the longest sentence to date for Elizabeth Henriquez in the ongoing college admissions scandal. Henriquez was ultimately sentenced to seven months in prison, two years of supervised release and 300 hours of community service and was ordered to pay a $200,000 fine.

The government recommended a 26-monthslong prison sentence, the longest recommended of any parent charged in the college admissions scandal. 

Attorneys for Elizabeth Henriquez asked the court to consider imposing house arrest because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Los Angeles Times. The court rejected the notion and instead delayed Henriquez’s date to surrender to prison until June 30.

Elizabeth Henriquez’ lawyer Aaron Katz wrote Henriquez acknowledged her involvement in the scheme was wrong and illegal, according to Los Angeles Times. 

“[Henriquez] knew that what she was doing was wrong,” Katz wrote. “[This] was not a true, let along legal, way of expressing her deep, unconditional, abiding parental love.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts declined to comment because of the other ongoing cases related to the admissions scandal. Elizabeth Henriquez’s defense attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Manuel Henriquez was originally scheduled to be sentenced April 8. His sentencing date, however, has since been pushed to June 10. Henriquez had been charged with the same crimes as his wife, though prosecutors are seeking a 18-month sentence with his case.

The court’s sentence is the latest in a string of verdicts related to the “Varsity Blues” scandal, a college admissions scheme that helped wealthy, unqualified students gain fraudulent admission to some of the nation’s top universities. The Henriquez couple are two of six former Georgetown parents charged in the plot.

Both Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez worked with William Rick Singer, whose company, Edge College & Career Network, was at the center of the scheme. The couple first worked with Singer in 2015 to organize a donation to Gordon Ernst, the Georgetown tennis coach then, to ensure their daughter’s false recruitment. The couple later worked with Singer again in 2016 and in 2017 to use a fraudulent test proctoring service for both the SAT and ACT college entrance examinations.

Georgetown first learned of Ernst’s misconduct in 2017 and has since taken measures to enhance academic recruitment policy, according to a university spokesperson.

“In 2017, Georgetown’s Admissions Office discovered irregularities in the athletic credentials of two students who were being recruited to play tennis. Neither student was admitted,” the university spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Georgetown immediately put former coach Gordon Ernst on leave, initiated an internal investigation, established a new policy concerning the recruitment of student athletes, implemented audits to check whether recruited student athletes are on team rosters, and asked Mr. Ernst to resign.”

In November 2018, Georgetown implemented the Office of Admissions and Departments of Athletics Policy on Recruitment of Student-Athletes, a new recruitment policy that requires periodic audits to ensure recruited students remain on the roster for their sports. If a student is no longer on the roster, coaches must provide a written justification to the university, according to the policy.

Elizabeth Henriquez joins three other former Georgetown parents, Michelle Janavs, Douglas Hodge and Stephen Semprevivo, in being sentenced for their roles in the “Varsity Blues” scandal.

Janavs was sentenced Feb. 25 to five months in prison, two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine after she worked with Ernst to have her son Grant Janavs (COL ’21) falsely designated as a tennis recruit.

Hodge was given what was then the longest sentence to date in the college admissions scandal Feb. 7 after working with Ernst and other coaches from the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University to have his children falsely designated as athletic recruits to those schools. Hodge’s attempts to bribe individuals at Loyola Marymount University were unsuccessful.

Hodge was ultimately sentenced to nine months of prison, two years of supervised release and 500 hours of community service as well as ordered to pay a $750,000 fine.
Semprevivo was the first Georgetown parent sentenced in the admissions scandal in September 2019, charged for conspiracy to commit mail fraud in March 2019. Semprevivo was sentenced to four months in prison, two years of supervised release and 500 hours of community service as well as ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

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