In College Admissions Scandal, Prominent Lawyer Pleads Guilty

The scene outside the courtroom for the college admissions case.
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Gordon Caplan, a prominent attorney who was named “Dealmaker of the Year” last year by American Lawyer magazine, has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the college admissions scandal.

According to The New York Times, Caplan was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and has pleaded guilty to said charges. Caplan had been arrested and indicted last month, on charges that he paid $75,000 to improve his daughter’s college admission chances. The alleged fraud, in Caplan’s case, involved paying a proctor to improve his daughter’s ACT score, while also stating falsely that she had a learning disability.

Caplan had also been caught on tape talking to the mastermind of the scam, William Rick Singer, and admitting to various things that were later used against him.

The attorney said that his daughter, who did not know about the plans, has not yet applied to college, and is very upset about having been pulled into the matter.

“I take full and sole responsibility for my conduct, and I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and my actions,” Caplan said in a statement to The New York Times. “I apologize not only to my family, friends, colleagues and the legal bar, but also to students everywhere who have been accepted to college through their own hard work.”

Caplan had been placed on leave from his law firm, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and is now no longer a partner there. The firm announced that Caplan was leaving as “a result of his involvement in the college admissions matter and his recent statement regarding his intent to plead to a criminal charge.” Caplan will now likely face disbarment.

A graduate of Cornell University and Fordham Law School, Caplan specialized in private equity law. He was one of 33 parents charged in the original indictment, and others this week have announced guilty pleas, including Peter Jan Sartorio, a packaged-food entrepreneur in California. Several coaches involved have also pleaded guilty to the parts they played in the admissions scam.

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It’s unclear exactly what sentence Caplan can expect, or when sentencing will take place.

The most prominent people involved in the college admissions scandal, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, both appeared in court in Boston this week, although neither has entered a plea yet.

According to Deadline, the defendants in the case, including Huffman and Loughlin, are likely looking at prison time in connection with the admissions scandal.