Philip Esformes, the Penn parent who bribed former men's basketball coach Jerome Allen, sent more than $400,000 to the charity of William "Rick" Singer, the college consultant at the center of the national college admissions scandal, according to a witness in Esformes' trial in Miami.
Bank records were analyzed by the witness to show the money trail from Esformes' account to the Key WorldWide Foundation, which prosecutors allege was fraudulent and used to launder bribes from parents trying to gain college admission for their children, Law360 reported. The Key Worldwide Foundation was listed as a non-profit that provides education to underprivileged students, according to its mission statement.
Allen also testified March 8 to having accepted about $300,000 in bribes from Esformes to secure a spot on the Penn men's basketball team and help get his son, a current Wharton senior, admitted to the undergraduate business school.
Just days later, the Justice Department charged 50 people in connection to a national college admission scam with Singer exposed as the mastermind. Penn was not implicated in the court filings when they were unsealed, but Yale University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, and the University of Southern California were among those named in the documents. The alleged crimes in the scandal included cheating on entrance exams and bribing college officials to falsely identify students as part of athletic recruitment.
Esformes' monetary transfers to Singer were presented in court a few days after evidence surfaced that Esformes exchanged text messages with Singer about his son’s chances of getting admitted to Penn given his SAT score at the time.
In a text to Singer, Esformes wrote that his son scored 2000 out of 2400 on the SAT exam. Singer replied that Esformes' son needed to take the test again in order to improve his chance of being admitted to Penn. Esformes also asked Singer whether his son's chances were better if he applied as a student-athlete.
Esformes asked Singer through text message the date of an upcoming college-entrance exam in Arizona while the family lived in Miami. Singer arranged for many students to take the SAT or ACT at locations far from their homes, where he coordinated with test proctors to correct the students' answers after they had taken the exams, according to his indictment.
After Allen pleaded guilty in October 2018, Penn hired an outside consultant to review admissions procedures. In light of the nationwide bribery scandal, Penn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said the University will once again consider revising its processes related to recruitment and evaluation.
"Penn Admissions and [the University's Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics] have worked with an outside consultant to review and strengthen our processes for the recruitment of student athletes and, in light of the current charges, will again consider whether any further changes are called for in our recruitment and evaluation processes," Furda wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
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