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Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty in bribery case

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Former Georgetown University head men’s and women’s tennis coach Gordon Ernst has pleaded guilty in connection with the college admissions scandal.

Ernst pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, three counts of federal programs bribery and one count of filing a false tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a Monday statement.

Prosecutors first announced last month that Ernst had agreed to plead guilty in connection with the scandal, the sweeping investigation of which was known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” The scandal saw wealthy parents spend millions to get their children into elite schools, including faking test scores and athletic achievements. 

According to an indictment filed last year, Ernst received more than $2 million from Rick Singer, the man at the center of the scandal, from 2012 to 2018 in exchange for designating numerous applicants as recruits for Georgetown’s tennis team, including some who did not play tennis competitively.

The U.S. attorney’s office added in its statement that Ernst failed to report the bribes on his federal income taxes.

Singer himself pleaded guilty to racketeering and money laundering charges in connection with the scandal in 2019 but has not yet been sentenced, Justice Department records indicate. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

Ernst is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, the U.S. attorney’s office said. 

The parties agreed to a sentence of at least one but no more than four years in prison. Ernst would also face two years of supervised release and a forfeiture of more than $3.4 million.

The Hill has reached out Tracy Miner, who represents Ernst, for comment.

Tags college admissions scandal Georgetown University Operation Varsity Blues

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