CBS This Morning: Guilty parent in college scam caught saying he was “not worried about the moral issue”
For the first time, a parent who pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal has spoken publicly about his wrongdoing. High-profile attorney Gordon Caplan expressed his remorse outside Boston federal court Tuesday after admitting to a judge that he paid $75,000 to rig his daughter’s ACT.
“I’m really sorry to my daughter, who I love more than anything in the world, knew nothing about this,” Caplan said. “I’m also sorry to all the other kids out there who are in the admissions process.”
Court papers show the FBI repeatedly caught Caplan on wiretaps discussing the scheme with mastermind Rick Singer. In one conversation, the high-profile Manhattan attorney told Singer: “To be honest I’m not worried about the moral issue here. I’m worried about the – if she’s caught doing that, you know, she’s finished.”
Of the 33 parents charged in the college admissions scheme, 19 plan to fight the charges and 14 have agreed to plead guilty. They hope coming clean now will mean a lighter sentence later.
Napa Valley winegrower Agustin Huneeus Jr., one of the parents who pleaded guilty, did not speak to reporters as he left court. The vineyard owner pleaded guilty to paying Singer $300,000 to boost his daughter’s SAT score and pass her off as a water polo recruit to get her into USC. A source close to the prosecution told CBS News she is one of several children who was sent a letter by prosecutors naming them as possible targets of the investigation.
In a written statement, Huneeus apologized “to students who work hard to get into college on their own merit.” He added the “plea was an important step in my effort to take responsibility and accept the consequences for acts that I deeply regret.”
Those planning on fighting the charges include actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who are now working on their defense.
Criminal defense attorney Vinoo Varghese says one area of interest will be hearing wiretapped conversations in court.
“If I’m the representative or the attorney for one of these parents, I again want to check what they have against my sole client and then I want to hear what this person has to say and, look, two people can hear the same thing and come to a different conclusion,” Varghese said.
Gordon Caplan and Agustin Hunneus will be sentenced this fall. There are still 50 to 75 more cases related to the scandal that the government is working on according to a source close to the prosecution.