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Justice News

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Parent Charged in College Admissions Case Indicted on Additional Tax Fraud Charge

BOSTON – A federal grand jury in Boston returned the fourth superseding indictment charging one of the 15 parents implicated in the college admissions case with tax offenses.

John Wilson, 59, of Lynnfield, Mass., was indicted on one count of filing a false tax return. It is alleged that Wilson paid a total of $220,000 to secure his son’s admission to the University of Southern California as a purported water polo recruit. Wilson then deducted the $220,000 from his 2014 tax returns as charitable donations and business expenses. According to the charging document, Wilson’s amended 2014 tax returns improperly deducted $220,000 in payments that he allegedly made in exchange for securing his son’s admission to the University of Southern California.

An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled. Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here:

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.

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. The Department of Education, Office of Inspector General provided assistance with the investigation. 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 case.

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

Updated January 14, 2020