Unlike actress Felicity Huffman, whose sentence for participating in a college admissions cheating scandal was two weeks behind bars, the latest parent convicted has been sentenced to five months in jail.
Agustin Huneeus Jr. of San Francisco, whose winery is located in California’s famed Napa Valley, was hit with the sentence Friday in Boston, the New York Post reported.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also ordered Huneeus to pay a $100,000 fine, perform 500 hours of community service and spend two years on probation, according to The Washington Post.
Huneeus paid $50,000 to Rick Singer, who has admitted his role as the central figure in the admissions scandal, to have his daughter’s SAT score boosted. Prosecutors said Huneeus was upset that even with the boost, his daughter scored 1380 out of 1600.
Singer told him a higher score “would have got investigated for sure based on her grades,” according to court documents.
Huneeus also had $250,000 ready to bribe his daughter’s way into the University of Southern California. However, he was arrested before the bribe was paid. The scheme for getting the girl into the college was to have her classified as a water polo recruit.
Court records included a wiretapped conversation between the two men.
“OK, so there’s no chance I give that 50 and then she’s not admitted?” Huneeus said.
“You won’t send it until you get the letter,” Singer said, meaning the formal admission offer.
Huneeus said his daughter was “not worthy to be on that team” and worried his efforts might “blow up in my face … like some article comes out that the, the polo team is selling seats into the school for 250 grand.”
Huneeus’s daughter was accepted provisionally by USC in the fall of 2018, but never was never given a formal admission offer after her father was charged.
Prosecutors wanted Huneeus locked up for 15 months.
“Huneeus was assertive and self-assured in his interactions with co-conspirator William ‘Rick’ Singer,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo, according to The Boston Globe. “He was clear about what he expected, and demanded assurances that he would receive his bribe money back if the schemes failed.”
Huneeus “instructed his daughter not to discuss the scheme with anybody and to have a ‘keep-your-trap-shut mentality,’” prosecutors said in their memo to the judge.
#BREAKING: San Francisco dad, wine magnate Agustin Huneeus Jr. sentenced to 5 months in prison for his role in college admissions scandal, per @law360; longest sentence yet in the scamhttps://t.co/Upt1XCmbck
— Matthias Gafni (@mgafni) October 4, 2019
So far, a prominent Napa Valley vintner who paid to rig his daughter’s school entrance exam and tried to sneak her into USC as a bogus athlete has received the harshest sentence for a parent involved in the college admissions scamhttps://t.co/nlNhtCwjYl
— KTLA (@KTLA) October 4, 2019
On Friday, Huneeus said he was sorry for his actions.
“The consequences of my actions to those closest to me have been devastating. The public shame and notoriety I have thrust upon them has impacted them all. I have damaged and humiliated my family. My friends and the amazing people I had the privilege to work with in our business are all victims of my actions. I have harmed and disappointed everyone who loved me or cared about me. I am sorry and I will do better,” he said, according to KGO.
“I am deeply ashamed of myself for taking part in a scheme that could have taken a deserving student’s future away,” he said. “My actions threatened to disadvantage the very people the system was already stacked against.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.