CALIFORNIA—Manuel A. Henriquez was sentenced to 6 months in prison Wednesday, July 29, 2020 for his role in “Operation Varsity Blues”, the 2019 college bribery scandal involving about 53 other parents. Along with his jail sentence he must pay a $200,000 fine and complete 200 hours of community service.
Henriquez was called a “hypocrite” by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton, who determined Henriquez’s sentence. Henriquez’s lawyers argued that he should only receive five months in prison due to the fact that his involvement in the scheme was “only minor” in comparison with his wife, Elizabeth Henriquez, who was sentenced to seven months back in March of 2019.
Both of the Henriquezes pleaded guilty in court. They admitted to paying about $50,000 to William “Rick” Singer, a Newport Beach college admissions consultant, to fix their daughters’ SAT and ACT answers on five different occasions.
Singer was additionally paid another $400,000 to secure the fact that his colleague Gordon Ernst, Georgetown’s tennis coach, would falsely “ designate their older daughter as a tennis recruit in order to facilitate her admission to Georgetown”. Ernst is accused of taking $3 million dollars in bribes but pleaded not guilty according to the Affidavit in Support Of Criminal Complaint written by FBI agent, Laura Smith. In the document, the agent says “At her best, she appears to have ranked 207th in Northern California in the under-12 girls division, with an overall win/loss record of 2-8.” The oldest Henriquez daughter was accepted into Georgetown University for the Class of 2019.
Singer’s other accomplice, Mark Riddell, proctored the Henriquezes’ second daughter’s ACT in Houston and gave her the answers, resulting in her scoring a 30 out of 36 on the exam. Instead of Manuel Henriquez paying the agreed upon $75,000 to Singer for the help, he made sure that another of Singer’s clients was accepted inyo his alma mater, Northeastern University.
Having to resign from the CEO position of his company, Hercules Capital, Manuel Henriquez said “The loss of Hercules Capital was like losing my third child,” when writing to the judge. He also deeply apologized to his family, friends and colleagues for all the trouble he caused and to the college students’ parents for paying money to get his daughters ahead of them in the college admissions process.