Gregory Colburn, Amy Colburn convicted in college admissions process

Amy Colburn, Gregory Colburn

Amy Colburn, Gregory Colburn pictured in 2019 after charges were filed.

Though it’s been more than three years since the Justice Department first pressed charges against the wealthy and well-connected in the college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues,” the hits keep coming.

DR Gregory Colburn63 and Amy Colburn52, are no Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli, or Felicity Huffman in terms of being recognizable around the world, but the Silicon Valley couple stood out in their community. dr Colburn, a radiation oncologist, and Amy Colburn, who owned an interior design business, admittedly tarnished that reputation by misusing their considerable funds to commit a federal crime.

Prosecutors said—and the accused admitted— that the Colburns conspired with the mastermind of college admissions fraud William “Rick” Singer and others to defraud the College Board. The Colburns agreed plead guilty in December 2021 Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest service mail and wire fraud.

The wealthy couple’s crime was to pay $25,000 to Singer’s bogus charity under the guise of helping “underserved children.” This money was actually used to help her wealthy son get a top SAT score. The money was used to pay off Igor Dvorsky, described by the DOJ as a “corrupt test administrator.” Dvorskiy in turn allowed Mark Riddell“a corrupt test supervisor” to correct the Colburns’ son’s SAT answers (while Riddell has already been convicted for his role in the scandal, Singer and Dvorskiy are still awaiting to know their fate).

The Colburns, along with many other parents, were involved in the Big scandal from the start.

Unbeknownst to the Colburns, the government recorded a telephone conversation with Rick Singer. On that call, they agreed to lie about why they donated to Singer’s foundation, The Key.

The government has arrested many defendants in the wide-ranging and historic prosecution in causing Singer to call his clients about a fake IRS audit of his foundation. On the calls, Singer inevitably got the defendants to explain that their donation was going for something other than what it was intended for — that is, if anyone started asking them questions. In that case, the Colburns agreed, saying the money was to “help underserved children.”

“Right. It should help underserved kids. Right,” Gregory Colburn said at the end of the call. “Got it. No problem.”

It turned out to be a big problem.

Judge of the US District Court in Boston Nathaniel M. Gortonknown as a factual lawyer and stiff senatorHe ordered the Colburns on Thursday to serve eight weeks each behind bars. They also have to be released under supervision for a year, do 100 hours of community service and pay a $12,500 fine.

Gorton reportedly slammed the defendants for their “brazen” and “frankly stupid behavior”.

In a sentencing note, prosecutors called the defendants “highly educated multi-millionaires.” The government specifically called out the Colburns by sharing words the defendants wrote years ago – in a letter complaining about fraud going on at their son’s school [italics as they appear in the filing]:


“Because the tests are scored on a curve, this cheating scandal affects not just the cheating students, but the grades of everyone else in the class. . . . As a parent of a student taking this course and for everyone [high-school] Students and parents, it is important that the school not only imposes appropriate consequences on the cheating students, but also gives grades to all honest students affected by this scandal.” See Ex. A. These are the words of defendants Amy and Gregory Colburn when they thought others were watching.

The defendants wrote to teachers at their son’s high school in 2015 when they learned that several students at their older son’s high school had been accused of cheating on math tests. Just a few years later, the defendants paid Singer a fake donation of $25,000 to bribe two people into cheating on their younger son’s SAT exam, lying about paying their taxes, and then agreeing to lie to cover up their crimes.

The audacity it took for the accused to publicly accuse children cheating when it disadvantaged her own son, and then privately engaging in fraud, fraud, and bribery for the benefit of her other son summarizes the causes of the college admissions scandal and the varsity blues cases. For a variety of reasons – hubris, arrogance, and a belief that the rules don’t apply to people of wealth and privilege – the defendants made a conscious choice to break the law and engage in conduct they clearly knew that it was wrong.

[Image via ABC 7 screengrab]

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James Brien

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