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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

California Parents Agree to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

Couple will admit to paying $25,000 to facilitate cheating on their son’s SAT exam

BOSTON – Two Silicon Valley parents have agreed to plead guilty in connection with their involvement in the college admissions case. 

Gregory Colburn, M.D., 64, and Amy Colburn, 52, of Palo Alto, Calif., have agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. Plea hearings for the defendants have not yet been scheduled by the Court. The Colburns were previously scheduled for trial on Jan. 13, 2022.

The Colburns will plead guilty to their roles in a scheme to defraud The College Board by paying William “Rick” Singer $25,000 to bribe Igor Dvorskiy, a corrupt test administrator, to allow Mark Riddell, a corrupt test “proctor,” to secretly correct the Colburns’ son’s SAT exam answers to obtain a fraudulently inflated score.

Singer, Dvorskiy and Riddell have pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the scheme.

Under the terms of the plea agreements, each of the defendants has agreed to sentences, subject to the Court’s approval, of eight weeks in prison, one year of supervised release with 100 hours of community service and a fine of $12,500. 

Gregory Colburn and Amy Colburn will be the 36th and 37th parents in the college admissions case to either plead guilty or be convicted by a jury following trial, respectively.   

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a sentence of up 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Mark Deckett, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristen A. Kearney, Ian J. Stearns and Leslie Wright of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated January 5, 2022