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Cornell alum indicted in college cheating scandal

Gordon Caplan of Greenwich, Conn., walks out of federal court Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in New York (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson).

A Cornell University alumni is one of 50 people indicted in the college cheating scandal.

According to court documents, Gordon Caplan paid $75,000 to ensure his daughter received a better score on her ACT.

Investigators say Caplan, of Greenwich, Connecticut and New York City, is an attorney and co-chariman of an international law firm based in New York. According to his page on LinkedIn, he gradated from Cornell in 1988.

Court documents allege Caplan paid $75,000 under the guise of a “charitable donation” to a company that helped wealthy families improve their children’s test scores, making them better candidates for admission into elite colleges and universities like Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were among those charged in the investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues."

Those indicted include Hollywood actresses Lori Louglin, of “Full House,” and Felicity Huffman, of “Desperate Housewives” fame.

The schemes were run through a company based in Newport Beach, California, according to the FBI. Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.

In Caplan’s case, court documents accuse him of making the payment in order for a test proctor to change his daughter’s answers on the ACT. A transcript of wiretapped call shows a confidential witness explaining the scheme to Caplan.

First, the witness told Caplan they would get his daughter tested for a “learning difference” which would qualify her for extra time to complete the test over several days. Then, the Caplans would fly to Los Angeles from the east coast to go on a “fake recruiting visit” which happened to fall on the national test day.

In many cases like the Caplans, students would take the test at one of two schools in California run by William Singer, the founder of the Edge College & Career Network.

The exam proctors would change test answers to ensure higher scores.

Singer has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation.

Caplan has reportedly been placed on leave from his law firm, according to Above the Law.


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