It takes a lot to knock the Mueller investigation and BREXIT off the front pages and TV talk shows, but the college and university admissions scandal did just that—at least for a couple of days. At this point, everyone has probably heard about the allegations: organized by a college admissions consultant and using a charity that he established, parents arranged for their children's admission through "the side door" to elite colleges and universities by bribing coaches, paying others to take the SAT/ACT exams for their children, and paying SAT/ACT test proctors to correct test answers or just give their children more time to take the test. The stunning detail of those allegations aside, how is this news relevant to you or your clients?

  • If you, or anyone you know, was involved in or knew about this or similar schemes, consult a white-collar, criminal lawyer right away. The first set of 50 indictments may well be only the first round.
  • If you are a donor to a university, especially a large donor, you may want to ask what your university has done or is doing to prevent this kind of thing from happening or happening again.
  • If you are an executive or a board member at a college or university—even an institution not named in the story—you will be dealing with the fallout for quite some time. You may want to start by reviewing the school's admissions policies and practices. Do they monitor the actual participation of athletic recruits? If someone was recruited to play water polo, but never joined the team, what happened? What is the school's policy on admitting children of large donors? Is there a clear quid pro quo, either in fact or in practice, that could raise concerns for the IRS? How much discretion does the school give to coaches? Are there any checks and balances in that system?
  • Finally, in addition to the press, a number of regulators will now likely scrutinize issues related to the college and university admissions process. Those regulators will include other United States Attorneys, state Attorneys General, the IRS, Congress, and state legislators (especially for state schools).

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