Atherton Couple Pleads to $450,000 in Fraud in College Admission Scandal

An Atherton husband and wife each pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston on Monday to two criminal charges of college admissions cheating, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts.

Financier Manuel Henriquez, 55, a former chief executive of Hercules Capital of Palo Alto, and Elizabeth Henriquez, 56, paid $450,000 to secure college admissions for their two daughters, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

The payments included $400,000 to have the older daughter fraudulently recruited to Georgetown University as a tennis star; $25,000 to have a corrupt proctor give her answers on her SAT exam in 2015; and at least $25,000 to have the same proctor provide answers to the younger daughter on SAT and ACT exams in 2016 and 2017, according to the indictment to which the parents pleaded guilty.

The Atherton parents each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services fraudand a second count of conspiring to launder money.

Elizabeth Henriquez will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Feb. 7 and Manuel Henriquez on March 5.

Two other parents, former PIMCO CEO Douglas Hodge, 61, of Laguna Beach, and Michelle Janavs, 48, of Newport Coast, also pleaded guilty Monday to the same two counts.

A total of 35 parents nationwide have been charged in the scheme run by college consultant Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty to several charges including racketeering conspiracy and has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Including the four who changed their pleas Monday, 19 parents have now pleaded guilty. Most of the others pleaded guilty only to a single count of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

Ten have been sentenced to terms ranging from probation to five months in prison. They include actress Felicity Huffman, who was given a term of two weeks in prison.

The Henriquezes, Hodge and Janavs are likely to face heavier sentences because they pleaded guilty to two counts. Each count carries a possible maximum prison sentence of 20 years, but the judge is expected to consider federal sentencing guidelines when deciding the penalty.

Fifteen parents who have not changed their original not-guilty pleas, including actress Lori Loughlin, face those same two counts in an April 7 grand jury indictment.

The 35th parent named in the case, Canadian resident Xiaoning Sui, was indicted separately. She was arrested in Spain in September and prosecutors are seeking to extradite her to face the charges in Boston.

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