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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Former Georgetown Head Tennis Coach Agrees to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

BOSTON – The former head coach of men and women’s tennis at Georgetown University has agreed to plead guilty in connection with soliciting and accepting bribes to facilitate the admission of prospective Georgetown applicants and failing to report a significant portion of those bribe payments on his federal income taxes.

Gordon Ernst, 54, of Chevy Chase, Md. and Falmouth, Mass., will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, three counts of federal programs bribery and one count of filing a false tax return. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled.

According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties have agreed to a sentence of at least one year and up to four years in prison, two years of supervised release and forfeiture of $3,435,053.

As set forth in the charging document, Ernst solicited and received bribe payments from William “Rick” Singer and prospective Georgetown applicants to facilitate their admission to Georgetown as student athletes. Ernst then failed to report a significant portion of those bribe payments on his federal income tax returns.

The charge of federal programs bribery provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of filing a false tax return provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $100,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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.

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 Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney and Kriss Basil of Mendell’s Criminal Division 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.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated September 15, 2021