One year and a day
Just because you’re a former top executive of a major Las Vegas casino company doesn’t guarantee you will get away with trying to beat the system.
paid a $300,000 bribe to get his daughter into the University of Southern California
On Wednesday, a US District Court Judge sentenced former Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts executive Gamal Abdelaziz to 12 months and a day in prison. According to the ruling, he paid a $300,000 bribe to get his daughter into the University of Southern California (USC).
The Las Vegas native’s sentence handed down in Boston, Massachusetts includes a $250,000 fine and 400 hours of community service. FBI Boston took to Twitter to share the ruling:
A federal jury convicted Abdelaziz back in October of one count of conspiracy apiece to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, along with committing federal programs bribery.
His sentence concludes the first case to go to trial in the nationwide Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. This saw dozens of high-profile individuals pay millions of dollars for fake college admissions.
Basketball scam rebounds
Abdelaziz’s scheme included creating a fake basketball profile complete with fictitious awards and athletic honors to depict his daughter, Sabrina, as an athletic recruit. It turned out she had not played basketball in over a year, and never even made it onto her high school’s varsity team.
According to a news release by the Department of Justice (DOJ), another unnamed co-conspirator who worked in USC’s athletic department used Sabrina’s fake basketball profile to secure her own entrance to the university.
wired $300,000 to a fake charity
Abdelaziz later wired $300,000 to a fake charity owned by co-conspirator William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions counselor and the self-confessed criminal mastermind behind the entire college admissions scheme. In return, Abdelaziz secured Sabrina’s admission to USC.
Singer entered a guilty plea in 2019 and is awaiting sentencing.
Lies catch up
According to Forbes, Abdelaziz’s sentence is weightier than other parents caught up in the scandal. The media source compared the formed casino exec’s penalty with that of liquor kingpin Marci Palatella. She received just six weeks in prison for paying Singer $500,000 to have her son admitted to USC as a fake football recruit.
Abdelaziz did not plead guilty like many other accused parents did.
Prosecutors said Abdelaziz received a severe penalty because he was “intimately involved in the lies at every step of his daughter’s fraudulent admission to USC.” They noted how he lied to college counselors and oversaw the editing of Sabrina’s college application and essay. In addition, Abdelaziz did not plead guilty.