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Gordon Caplan, New York attorney, pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

A prominent New York attorney has agreed to plead guilty for his role in the "Operation Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal. Gordon Caplan is one of the first parents to admit guilt in connection with the scam. Caplan, the former co-chairman of the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, was accused of paying $75,000 to have his daughter's ACT exam proctored and corrected by two individuals implicated in the scheme. 

"I take full and sole responsibility for my conduct and I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and my actions. I apologize not only to my family, friends, colleagues and the legal Bar, but also to students everywhere who have been accepted to college through their own hard work," Caplan said in a statement released Friday by his attorney. 

College Admissions-Bribery
Gordon Caplan arrives at federal court in Boston on April 3, 2019. Charles Krupa / AP

Caplan said his daughter "had no knowledge whatsoever about my actions."   

"My immediate goal is to focus on making amends for my actions to try to win back the trust and respect of my daughter, my family, and my community," he said in his statement. "The remorse and shame that I feel is more than I can convey."

Caplan was one of 33 parents named by prosecutors in the college admissions scheme that rocked the nation. Parents charged in the alleged fraud are accused of paying an admissions consultant, William "Rick" Singer, a total of $25 million between 2011 and February 2019. Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a press conference in March that Singer used some of that money to pay bribes for people to either take the test for the teenagers or correct their answers. Singer also admitted bribing college coaches to falsely label applicants as athletic recruits.

Caplan was charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud that involved an attempt to have his daughter cheat on the ACT exam. According to an FBI affidavit, Mr. Caplan paid Mr. Singer $75,000, then Singer paid and coordinated with a test proctor to correct Caplan's daughter's answers once she completed the exam.

It is unclear what penalties Caplan may face once he enters a guilty plea, though CBS News reported earlier this week that some parents have already consulted with a prison expert on how to survive time behind bars. 

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