Ex-MGM, Wynn Exec Hit With Prison Sentence Over College Admission Bribery Scandal

  • A Judge sentenced Abdelaziz for his role in a conspiracy to facilitate his daughter’s USC entry
  • Sabrina Abdelaziz’s admission to USC as a fake basketball recruit involved bribery and fraud
  • Her profile included fake awards despite never actually playing for her high school varsity team
  • Abdelaziz wired $300,000 to mastermind Singer in exchange for Sabrina’s fraudulent admission
  • Prosecutors said the ex-exec received the sentence as he was “intimately involved in the lies”
University of Southern California
Faking his daughters basketball profile and paying a $300,000 bribe to secure her admission to USC has earned former Las Vegas casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz 12 months and a day in prison. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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.

Abdelaziz held senior executive roles at Caesars Palace in Vegas and the Plaza Hotel in New York City, before helping Steve Wynn open the Bellagio and serving as the hotel’s senior vice president. He also held positions as president and COO for MGM Grand, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts Development, before becoming president of Wynn Macau.