Ex-TPG Executive McGlashan Pleads Guilty in College Scandal

Former TPG Capital LP executive Bill McGlashan admitted paying $50,000 to boost his son’s test scores, the latest parent to plead guilty in the U.S. college admissions scandal as the ranks of those fighting the charges thin.

McGlashan, 57, acknowledged aiding and abetting the testing fraud and will serve three months in prison and pay a $250,000 fine under an agreement with federal prosecutors, who dropped three more-serious charges against him. He is the 30th parent, of more than three dozen charged, to admit guilt in a sprawling case that has claimed prominent figures from finance, industry and entertainment.

“Guilty,” McGlashan declared on Wednesday, appearing at a videoconference hearing in federal court in Boston.

Ex-TPG Executive McGlashan Pleads Guilty in College Scandal

The government’s key witness in the vast case was the scheme’s admitted mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions adviser who agreed to secretly plead guilty and record his conversations with parents. McGlashan’s family flew to Los Angeles from northern California in December 2017 so his son could take the ACT college entrance exam at a testing facility operated by a co-conspirator of Singer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin O’Connell told the court.

‘Very Grateful’

There, Singer had arranged for a testing whiz to correct the boy’s answers, earning him a near-perfect 34.

“You have a very relieved and motivated young man!” McGlashan emailed Singer after learning of the score, O’Connell said. “Very grateful.”

McGlashan had fought the case since charges were announced in March 2019 against him and parents including former Pimco chief Douglas Hodge, Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs and sitcom star Lori Loughlin. The founder of TPG’s growth platform, who also led the investment firm’s business focused on responsible investing, had been scheduled to go on trial in April.

Prosecutors originally alleged that McGlashan had participated in both parts of Singer’s plot -- one in which the Singer associate fixed his son’s ACT score and a second, “side door” racket in which the U.S. said he discussed paying $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California as a purported football recruit. His lawyers later said his son applied to USC as a legitimate candidate and then withdrew his application. The government conceded that point on Wednesday.

As part of McGlashan’s deal, prosecutors agreed to drop the side door allegations and three charges including money-laundering conspiracy. McGlashan agreed to plead guilty to aiding and abetting wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, committed against the testing company.

None of the students in the case have been charged.

Eight Parents Left

McGlashan’s plea leaves only eight parents still facing trial. Among them are John Wilson, a private equity and real estate executive who allegedly paid bribes to get his children admitted to Harvard, Stanford and USC as recruited athletes, and Gamal Abdelaziz, a former Wynn hotel and casino executive accused of paying $300,000 to get his daughter into USC as a basketball player.

A ninth parent, Robert Zangrillo, was pardoned by former president Donald Trump ahead of his trial.

McGlashan’s deal includes two unusual provisions. McGlashan can withdraw his plea if the court imposes a term longer than three months, and he can still pursue an appeal that test scores can’t be considered property under the law. If he prevails at the appeals court, he can withdraw his plea.

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton scheduled his sentencing for May 12.

The case is U.S. v. McGlashan, 19-cr-10080, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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