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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Parent Sentenced in College Admissions Case

Former senior executive paid $300,000 bribe to secure his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California as a purported basketball recruit

BOSTON – A former senior gaming and hospitality executive was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his participation in a conspiracy to facilitate his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California (USC) as a purported basketball recruit through bribery and fraud.

Gamal Abdelaziz, 65, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to one year and one day in prison, two years of supervised release, 400 hours of community service and a fine of $250,000. On Oct. 8, 2021, Abdelaziz was convicted following a four-week jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and honest services mail fraud and wire fraud; and one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

In 2017, Abdelaziz agreed to pay a co-conspirator, William “Rick” Singer, $300,000 to facilitate the admission of Abdelaziz’s daughter to USC as a purported basketball recruit. At the time, Abdelaziz’s daughter had not played basketball in well over a year and she had never been a member of her high school’s varsity basketball team.

As part of the scheme, a co-conspirator created a basketball profile for Abdelaziz’s daughter which included a photo of a different athlete and listed falsified awards and athletic honors.  Another co-conspirator who was employed in the USC athletic department, then  used that fake profile to secure the admission of Abdelaziz’s daughter to USC as a purported basketball recruit. Abdelaziz later wired $300,000 to Singer’s sham charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, in exchange for the fraudulent admission.

Singer previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, is available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen 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 Stephen E. Frank, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney and Ian Stearns of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated February 9, 2022