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A 36-year-old man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering Friday in Boston. In the same federal courthouse as the others caught up in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, Mark Riddell also agreed to forfeit $240,000. He is the latest adult to do so following fourteen parents who pleaded guilty earlier this week.
The professional test taker’s potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 may now be reduced to between 33 and 41 months in prison, as the prosecutors have recommended. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 18.
“I want to communicate to everyone that I am profoundly sorry for the damage I have done and grief I have caused those as a result of my needless actions. I understand how my actions contributed to a loss of trust in the college admissions process,” Riddell said in a statement last month after the charges were announced.
Riddell may seem to be a bit player in the college admissions scandal but he was, in fact, a crucial player. His role was essential because, without his expert test-taking skills, the college applicants would not have met entrance qualifications. He admitted his part in the scheme as a test-taker to the judge in Boston.
He appeared in federal court in Boston Friday afternoon, and when asked to articulate his understanding of the charges, he said: “I’m being charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for cheating on the SAT and the ACT.”
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