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California woman gets three weeks of prison in college admissions scandal

Marjorie Klapper had paid $15,000 to inflate her son’s test score


A California woman who paid $15,000 for her son to obtain a phony ACT score was sentenced Wednesday to three weeks in prison for her role in the college admissions bribery scandal, prosecutors announced.

Marjorie Klapper, 50, of Menlo Park, Calif., pleaded guilty in May to fraud conspiracy. She is the ninth parent to be sentenced among 15 who pleaded guilty following an investigation authorities nicknamed Varsity Blues. Nineteen accused parents have pleaded not guilty, and another has been detained in Spain and is awaiting extradition.

California businessman gets probation instead of jail in admissions scandal

At a hearing in Boston, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also sentenced Klapper to one year of supervised release after her prison term and ordered Klapper to pay a $9,500 fine and perform 250 hours of community service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Klapper, a jewelry retailer, conspired with admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer to cheat on the ACT in 2017, court records show. Her son took the multiple-choice exam that October at a testing center in West Hollywood that Singer controlled through bribes, records show. A corrupt proctor corrected the exam, according to the records, and the son scored 30 out of a maximum 36. In November 2017, Klapper paid $15,000 to a sham charity that prosecutors say Singer used to fund the scam.

The son has not been accused of any crime.

Singer and the proctor, Mark Riddell, have both pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges and are cooperating with investigators. Riddell is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1. Singer does not have a sentencing date.

Klapper’s attorneys had asked Talwani to spare the mother from incarceration, writing in a sentencing memorandum that Klapper had committed the crime as she was coping with loss in her family and “a horrific physical assault on her epileptic son.”

Prosecutors had recommended four months’ incarceration. In addition to the testing scam, prosecutors wrote in a memo to the judge, Klapper had agreed to a plan to misrepresent her son on college applications as African American and of Hispanic/Latino origin.

“Ms. Klapper thereby not only corrupted the standardized testing system, but also specifically victimized the real minority applicants already fighting for admission to elite schools,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement Wednesday. “We respectfully disagree that a three-week sentence is a sufficient sanction for this misconduct.”