Top New York lawyer sentenced in college admissions scandal

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Boston (October 9, 2019) – Former co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Gordon Caplan has been sentenced to one month in prison in connection with the U.S. college admissions scandal. The top attorney of a prestigious New York law firm paid US$75,000 to make sure that his daughter gained a nearly perfect ACT score. His law license in New York is currently suspended.

Gordon Caplan, the former co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and American Lawyer’s Dealmaker of the Year in 2018, was sentenced for fraud conspiracy in a Federal court in Boston on October 3. The 53-year-old attorney admitted getting engaged with Rick Singer, the protagonist in the U.S. college admissions scandal.

Caplan paid Singer to arrange a scheme to achieve a nearly perfect ACT score for his daughter. For US$75,000 someone of Singer’s co-conspirators corrected Caplan’s daughter’s ACT test answers. To facilitate the venture, they tried to get her approved for extra testing time which means she could take the exam over two days – an accommodation that is normally reserved for students with learning disabilities. But Singer has been already leaked out, and so was Caplan respectively according to Bloomberg.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Caplan to one month in prison after he pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Honest Services Mail Fraud in May. Additionally, the former M&A lawyer has been ordered to pay a US$50,000 fine and to serve 250 hours of community service. Judge Talwani credited that Caplan did not participate in Singer’s athletic recruitment scheme for guaranteed admission at the elite schools.

Caplan paid a price for his criminal behavior also outside of the courtroom. He was let go as co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in April and it is not clear yet how long he will be suspended from practicing law in general, according to the Attorney Grievance Committee in New York. Caplan is due to report to prison on November 6.