June 2, 2020 / 8:16 PM / a month ago

Former CEO pleads guilty in U.S. college admissions scandal

FILE PHOTO: A man walks at an empty campus green at Georgetown University, closed weeks ago due to coronavirus, in Washington, U.S., April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) - The former chief executive of ASGN Inc pleaded guilty on Tuesday to participating in a vast U.S. college admissions fraud scheme by paying $300,000 to secure his son’s admission to Georgetown University as a fake tennis recruit.

Peter Dameris, who resigned as the staffing and information technology services provider’s CEO last year after coming under investigation in the college admissions scandal, appeared by videoconference before a federal judge in Boston to enter his plea.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors agreed as part of a plea deal to recommend that Dameris, 60, be sentenced to 21 months of home confinement and a $95,000 fine.

Dameris, of Pacific Palisades, California, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5. His lawyer, Richard Crane, said Dameris is “deeply apologetic.”

Dameris is among 55 people charged in connection with a scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with a California college admissions consultant to fraudulently secure their children’s admission to universities.

Consultant William “Rick” Singer pleaded guilty in March 2019 to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of students to colleges as fake athletic recruits.

The 38 parents include “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, who received a 14-day prison sentence, and “Full House” co-star Lori Loughlin, who along with her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty last month.

Several college sports coaches have also faced charges, including former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who prosecutors said accepted bribes from Singer to facilitate the admission of students as purported tennis recruits.

Prosecutors said Dameris from 2015 to 2016 agreed to pay Singer $300,000 to bribe Ernst to designate his son as a tennis recruit, even though he did not play tennis competitively, helping him secure admission to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Peter Cooney

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