You are here

Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Marketing Company CEO Sentenced in College Admissions Case

Defendant paid to have co-conspirator take ACT for her son

BOSTON –  A California woman became the 11th parent to be sentenced in the college admissions case.

Jane Buckingham, 50, of Beverly Hills, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to three weeks in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. In May 2019, Buckingham pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

The government recommended a sentence of six months in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $40,000.

Beginning in 2018, Buckingham agreed with William “Rick” Singer and others to pay $50,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for her son. As part of the scheme, Buckingham made arrangements for her son to take the ACT at a test center in Houston, Texas, that Singer “controlled” through a corrupt test administrator, and for his answers to be corrected by co-conspirator Mark Riddell, who would purport to proctor the exam. Two days prior to the scheduled exam date, a physician advised Buckingham that her son could not fly to Houston due to a medical condition. Buckingham, in turn, asked Singer if it would be possible for Riddell simply to take the test in his place while she administered a fake exam to her son at her home in Los Angeles.

On July 14, 2018, Riddell completed the ACT exam by himself in a Houston hotel room. Three days later, Buckingham make a purported charitable donation of $35,000 to Singer’s sham charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to pay for the fraud, and advised Singer that she intended to have her former husband pay the remaining $15,000. In October 2018, Buckingham told Singer that she wanted to pursue the scheme again for her daughter. Ultimately, Buckingham was arrested before she had the opportunity to engage in the fraud a second time.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here:          

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 prosecuted the case.

Updated October 23, 2019