Private equity investor John B. Wilson has already gotten his fraud conviction overturned in the sprawling “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. Now he wants the $1 million he paid to the scheme’s mastermind back.
(Bloomberg) — Private equity investor John B. Wilson has already gotten his fraud conviction overturned in the sprawling “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. Now he wants the $1 million he paid to the scheme’s mastermind back.
Wilson, founder of Hyannis Port Capital, was among dozens of parents charged with taking part in the scam to cheat their kids’ way into elite institutions.
He argues that since he was cleared by an appeals court of paying bribes to get his twin daughters into Harvard and Stanford, the government should return the $500,000 in fees for each child he paid to a corrupt admissions strategist, William “Rick” Singer, in a ruse concocted by the FBI.
Singer, who pleaded guilty, is serving a 3 1/2-year sentence in federal prison in Florida. Prosecutors say the money Wilson wants was part of the more than $10 million that Singer forfeited for his role in the fraud, which ensnared more than four dozen wealthy parents, celebrities, college coaches and administrators.
The US has returned $200,000 that Wilson surrendered when he was sentenced. But he says that after he and another father in May won the reversal of bribery and wire fraud convictions, prosecutors won’t discuss giving him the rest of his money.
Read More: College Admissions Scandal Dads Get Fraud Convictions Tossed
“The government has refused to respond, will not provide any substantive information on the whereabouts or status of the funds, and will not even acknowledge if it possesses the $1 million or has a position on the return of the funds,” Wilson’s lawyer, Michael Kendall, said in a court filing.
Prosecutors said Wilson can’t contest the seizure because he “voluntarily transferred” the funds to Singer’s bank account — and waited too long to file a challenge.
“The forfeiture order has been final for three and a half years, and the time for filing a claim to the forfeited assets has long since passed,” prosecutor Carol Head said in a court filing.
US District Judge Leo T. Sorokin in Boston will now decide. Wilson awaits re-sentencing after his conviction for filing a false tax return was upheld on appeal.
The case is US v. Wilson, 19-cr-10080, US District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).
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