Every parent can attest they are willing to do everything in their power to give their children a good life.
Once you have kids, the money will come because you become so motivated to work harder. Not only will you work harder and pay better attention to your finances, you'll also likely get in better shape because you want to increase your chances of seeing your kids grow up!
Given the desire to give our children a better life, it's understandable why wealthy families try to bribe their children's way into various universities every year. We live in a hyper-competitive world.
When Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's plea bargain deal was announced, I was shocked.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to Rick Singer — the man at the center of the college admissions scandal and the founder and CEO of the company The Key: A Private Life Coaching and Counseling Company — to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.
Despite evidence from the FBI showing they were guilty, Loughlin and Giannuli held out and stated they were not guilty. Meanwhile, many parents, including Rick Singer, admitted they were guilty. Things were not looking good for this celebrity couple.
For example, Napa Valley winemaker, Agustin Huneeus was sentenced to five months in prison for his role in the college admissions scandal. Prosecutors said Huneeus paid $50,000 for a proctor to sit with his daughter and correct answers as she took the SAT exam. He also paid $50,000 to a University of Southern California athletic department official and agreed to pay $200,000 more when his daughter was accepted to the school as a water polo player.
In another example, LA business executive, Devin Sloane pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy for paying $250,000 to get his son admitted to USC, also as a phony athlete. Sloan was sentenced to four months in prison.
Given Loughlin and Giannuli defied the government and paid much more in bribes, the general consensus was that they would ultimately receive a more severe punishment. Lucky for them, that was not the case.
Loughlin And Giannuli's Plea Bargain
Based on the plea bargain, Loughlin will be sentenced to only two months in prison, a $150,000 fine, two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service.
Giannuli, however, will receive five months in prison, a $250,000 fine, two years of supervised release, and 250 hours of community service.
Despite both being complicit, Giannuli took a more active role in the bribery process, hence, the harsher sentence. Just know that whatever you tell your friend in confidence will be told to his or her spouse.
Either way, 2-5 months of prison time seems like a relatively GREAT deal! I was expecting them to get closer to a year in prison with time off for good behavior. Their prison time is up for debate. However, my expectation for closer to a year in prison was based on precedence.
Two months is going to go by in a flash for Loughlin. Heck, think how quickly two months of government-imposed lockdowns have gone. Five months for Giannuli is obviously tougher, but still not that bad in the scope of things.
Oh yeah, and I forgot Felicity Huffman was sentenced to only 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and a year's probation after she pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter's SAT answers.
Would You Risk Months Of Prison To Set Your Kids Up?
Given the light sentencing for the most egregious offenders, the logical question every wealthy parent should now ask is whether they should also attempt to bribe university officials, admissions consultants, and test prep workers to help their kids get ahead? If you're already rich and privileged, why not try and give your kids an even further leg up, right?
There were 50 people who got caught in the Varsity Blues operation. Yet, according to Statista, there are an estimated 20 million college attendees in America – 15 million in public universities and 5 million in private universities.
Let's assume no parents bother to bribe their kids' way into public universities since the public university admissions process is more transparent and harder to corrupt.
Seriously, good luck bribing officials at The College of William & Mary, the most honorable public university in the country. William & Mary has frozen tuition for the 2020-2021 school year to help its students make college more affordable during a global pandemic.
If we assume just 0.1% of the 5 million private university kids have parents who bribed their way in, that's 5,000 sets of shady parents.
50 people caught out of 5,000 is only 1%. In other words, if you are a parent considering bribing your children's way into college, you've only got about a 1% chance of getting caught.
If you are one of the unlucky 1% who gets caught, the most you will likely have to do is 2-5 months of prison time and pay up to $250,000 in fines. The money really doesn't matter because you are already rich. It's the 2-5 months of prison time you really care about.
Thanks to the consistent light sentencing of the Operation Varsity Blues culprits, it is highly likely that WAY MORE wealthy parents will try to bribe their children's way into elite private universities rather than less.
If You Want To Bribe Your Kid's Way Into School
If you are encouraged by the light bribery scandal sentencing, here are some things to think about if you want to bribe your child's way in:
- Identify universities that were caught in the scandal. Unless the school overhauls the entire administration, it's hard to completely root out corruption. Money is too alluring to be denied! Therefore, it's first worth focusing your attention on Yale, Georgetown, USC, Stanford, and UCLA (public). These are all terrific schools that have unfortunately had their reputations sullied by the scandal. Temporarily, it may be tougher to bribe your kid's way into these schools. However, over the long run, you know there's a way due to precedence. Further, competing schools that are always in search of money are also likely candidates for consideration.
- Identify universities that are raising tuition during a depression. Although William & Mary announced it would freeze tuition for the 2020-2021 school year, USC announced it will raise tuition by 3.5% for the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of whether classes are held on-site or online. USC's move should be no surprise. A university raising tuition during a time of economic devastation is a good signal for where wealthy parents should focus their financial resources. Focus on universities that have a maximum focus on profits.
- Practice annual two-month sheltering-in-place. Practice sheltering in place for at least two months a year for three years before attempting to bribe your kid's way into college. This way, you will not only better know whether bribing is worth it, if you are caught, you will also be able to better adapt to your 2-5 month prison sentence. Thankfully, our local governments have already given us plenty of shelter-in-place training in 2020.
- Learn some self-defense moves. You don't want to enter prison defenseless. You need to learn several self-defense moves that will debilitate your opponent in case you are attacked. My favorite self-defense move is learning how to snap a finger or an arm. You have to be menacing if you don't want to be menaced. If you take down the toughest person in the yard, nobody else will dare mess with you.
- Pay in cash and leave no written communication. Don't be sloppy like all the folks caught in Operation Varsity Blues. Always pay in cash and never correspond about bribery over e-mail or written note. You must always have a face-to-face meeting on a park bench somewhere. Alternatively, you can meet butt naked in the steam room or sauna somewhere. Use a burner phone if you need to make calls. Watch Ozark or Money Heist for more ideas if these do not suffice.
It's tough for millionaires to compete with centimillionaires and billionaires nowadays. Centimillionaires and billionaires can legally bribe their child's way into a prestigious university by donating tens of millions of dollars to fund a wing or a building. I know of a handful of people who've done just that and their kids have all gotten in.
If you never reach centimillionaire status or you don't want to take the 1% chance of getting caught by the FBI, then the next best thing is to start your own private business. As a private business owner, you can hire your daughter and make her the Executive Vice President of Operations after a month on the job! You're free to pay your son a big bonus one year just because he decided to call grandma every quarter.
Just make sure that if you go the private business route that you own 100% of the business. Dividing the business between you and your spouse works as well. However, just don't do something to piss the other side off. Once you give even a 1% share to an outsider, you risk losing your absolute position of power.
Let's do it for kids!
Readers, how much would you risk to set your kids up for life or at least a chance for a better life? Do you think the 2-5 month prison sentences are appropriate? Any other patterns you see here from the parents who were caught? What can universities due to earn back their trust?