Henriquezes appear in court on charges of fraud; judge sets conditions of release


Via Mercury News Youtube

Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez. The Northwestern parents are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Gabby Birenbaum, Campus Editor

While they may not have arrived to screaming fans and “pay my tuition” signs like actress and fellow alleged defrauder Lori Loughlin, Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez appeared in a Boston federal courthouse Wednesday afternoon to hear their charges and the conditions of their release.

The Henriquezes, parents of a Northwestern student who allegedly received help on her college entrance exams, stand charged of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The Atherton, California residents took part in an elaborate scam in which they paid to have a fraudulent proctor sit alongside each of their daughters as they took their college entrance exams and bribed the tennis coach at Georgetown University for their older daughter, according to federal attorneys. Their court appearance lasted only a few minutes, according to the Associated Press.

[Documents show how parents helped their child cheat to get into Northwestern]

The Henriquez parents, like many others charged in the case, chose not to enter a plea at this initial appearance. Peter Jan Sartorio, an entrepreneur from Menlo Park, California, became the first and thus far only of the 33 parents charged to say in a filing that he intends to plead guilty, according to Bloomberg.

Ten defendants, including the Henriquezes, were “released on conditions following initial appearance in federal court in Boston,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a tweet.

The conditions of release included a $500,000 bond and restricted travel, which required surrendering passports and removing firearms from their homes — an issue for Manuel Henriquez, who reportedly has 10, according to the Washington Post. Henriquez is to keep his firearms in a secure storage container for which he will not have the password, according to a court filing.

Defendants are not allowed to violate local, state or federal law, including smoking marijuana, even though it is legal in the Henriquezes’ home state of California.

But in a change to previous policy, U.S. Judge Magistrate M. Page Kelley reversed a ban for parents on discussing the case with spouses and children, calling it “unmanageable,” according to Bloomberg.

The Henriquezes will not have to enter a plea until they are arraigned, which first requires indictment by a federal grand jury. The couple has requested for their next hearing to be delayed until May 14, as Elizabeth Henriquez’s lawyer is handling other cases this month, according to court documents. Until then, the academic status of their younger daughter is unclear.

Some students involved in the scandal at the University of Southern California have been barred from registering for classes until the university can determine their degree of responsibility. Northwestern spokesman Bob Rowley referred The Daily via email to last month’s University statement when asked about the Henriquez daughter’s ability to take classes.

“If it is discovered that a student submitted false information in his or her application, it can result in a revocation of admission or, if enrolled, the student can be expelled,” the statement said.

Miles away from Boston, University President Morton Schapiro briefly addressed the college admissions scandal — without mentioning the Henriquezes — at a ‘Conversations with the President’ event in Chicago Wednesday morning.

Schapiro said he was shocked by the facts of the scandal, especially considering how much time he has spent writing about and studying the darker aspects of selective admissions.

After the scandal, Schapiro said the University found and closed a “loophole” in the admissions process regarding access to accounts without secondary oversight, though he did not go into detail. Despite that, he said he is able to “sleep at night” because the procedures and people in place in the admissions office are trustworthy and accountable.

“We looked at some of the abuses that surfaced at USC and similar schools over the past few weeks,” Schapiro said. “We took comfort that we have a different relationship between athletics and education.”

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