A California mother who agreed to pay $400,000 to help one of her daughters get into Georgetown University as a phony tennis recruit was sentenced Tuesday to seven months in prison, prosecutors announced.
Elizabeth Henriquez, 57, is the 16th parent to be sentenced in the college admissions bribery scandal known as Varsity Blues. She pleaded guilty in October to money-laundering conspiracy and fraud conspiracy. Her husband, Manuel Henriquez, pleaded guilty to the same charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8. They live in Atherton, California.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton announced the sentence for Elizabeth Henriquez in a hearing held via videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic. He also imposed two years of supervised release and a fine of $200,000 and ordered her to perform 300 hours of community service, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Prosecutors had recommended a prison term of two years and two months for Elizabeth Henriquez. Her attorneys had sought a sentence of 30 months of probation, including five months in home detention.
"This past year has felt never-ending and tormenting at times," the mother wrote in a letter to the court, according to a sentencing memo from her attorneys. "I am preoccupied by the question: was I a good mother? And how can I be a good mother going forward? I know that I failed in some very basic ways."
Prosecutors said Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez conspired with admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer starting in 2015, agreeing to pay $400,000 to help their older daughter get into Georgetown as a tennis recruit even though she did not play the sport competitively. The Henriquezes paid the money to a sham charity controlled by Singer, prosecutors said, with the understanding that it would be passed on to the Georgetown tennis program.
Prosecutors also say the couple paid additional amounts to obtain fake scores on admission tests for both of their daughters.