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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 9, 2019

California Woman Charged and Agrees to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

Defendant allegedly paid $9,000 to have online college classes taken on behalf of her son

BOSTON – A California woman will plead guilty to charges filed today alleging that she paid $9,000 to have an individual take online classes for her son, in order to earn credits to facilitate his graduation from Georgetown University.

Karen Littlefair, 57, of Newport Beach, Calif., will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the Court. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $9,500 and restitution.

According to the charging documents, Littlefair agreed with William “Rick” Singer and others to pay approximately $9,000 to have an employee of Singer’s for-profit college counseling business, The Edge College & Career Network (“The Key”), take online classes in place of Littlefair’s son and submit those fraudulently earned credits to Georgetown to facilitate his graduation. The Key employee allegedly completed four classes for Littlefair’s son at Georgetown and elsewhere, and in exchange, Littlefair paid Singer’s company approximately $9,000. Littlefair’s son graduated from Georgetown, using the credits earned by the Key employee, in May 2018.  

Singer previously pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation.

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 wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright and Kristen A. Kearney of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit are prosecuting the cases.

The details contained in the court documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed not guilty unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated December 9, 2019