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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 15, 2020

California Woman Sentenced in College Admissions Case

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

BOSTON – A California woman was sentenced today in connection with paying $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., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to five weeks in prison, two years of supervised release which includes 300 hours of community service, and a fine of $209,000. In January 2020, Littlefair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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.

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, Kristen A. Kearney, Karin M. Bell and Stephen E. Frank of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

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

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Updated July 15, 2020