An Atherton woman who paid more than $500,000 to help her children get into college through a nationwide admissions scandal was sentenced on Tuesday to seven months in prison, according to prosecutors.
Elizabeth Henriquez, 57, must also serve two years of supervised release, pay a $200,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. She has until June 30 to surrender herself to the Bureau of Prisons.
The sentence comes more than a year after the news of the admissions scandal emerged. Henriquez began participating in the scheme in 2015 when she began communicating with William "Rick" Singer, the Newport Beach man who helped dozens of other parents bribe admissions officers and athletic coaches at top colleges and universities into accepting their children in exchange for large sums of money. In many cases, the scandal involved correcting or providing answers to college entrance exams.
In June 2015, Henriquez paid Singer to coordinate with a proctor who corrected her older daughter's answers on SAT II subject tests, according to prosecutors. Then in October of that year, she agreed to have him bring in a third party to correct the answers on a SAT exam for the same daughter.
In 2016 and 2017, the Atherton resident also sought out Singer to help cheat on exams three times — once in Houston, Texas (where their younger daughter was provided answers to the ACT exam), and twice in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
Henriquez also paid $400,000 to have Singer orchestrate her daughter's admission to Georgetown University by claiming she was recruited to play tennis, a sport she didn't play competitively, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Under the arrangement, Henriquez's money would be donated to Singer's phony nonprofit, The Key Worldwide Foundation, which would then pass the funds to the tennis program in exchange for the coach's agreement to recruit her based on fake athletic credentials.
Once the daughter was accepted into the university, Singer only gave away some of the $400,000 for the coach's personal expenses, prosecutors said.
Henriquez and her husband, Manuel Henriquez, changed their pleas to guilty last year. They pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest mail services and wire fraud; and a second count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Manuel Henriquez, former CEO of venture capital and private equity firm Hercules Capital in Palo Alto, is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on April 8. The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking a sentence of 18 months (or one year and six months) in prison, two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.
The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton starkly contrasts with what prosecutors had recommended for the Atherton woman: 26 months (or two years and two months) in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. (The U.S. Attorney's Office also sought 300 hours of community service.)
Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez are among 10 local parents indicted in the case. Menlo Park residents Marjorie Klapper and Peter Jan Sartorio pleaded guilty last May and were sentenced in October.
Hillsborough residents Bruce and Davina Isackson, who have pleaded guilty, are scheduled for sentencing on May 21.
Palo Alto residents Amy and Greg Colburn; Hillsborough resident Marci Palatella; and William McGlashan, a Mill Valley resident formerly of Palo Alto, were named in a superseding indictment in January. They are set to stand trial on Jan. 11, 2021.