The daughter of a rich CEO whose parents allegedly scammed her way into an elite college "gloated" about cheating on her final school exams, prosecutors said.
For the most part, the shocking college admissions scandal among America's elite has left out the children who have benefited from — rather than knowingly participated in — their parents' crimes — with one notable exception.
Isabelle Henriquez, the daughter of Hercules Technology Growth Capital CEO Manuel Henriquez, is alleged to have gloated about cheating on her final exams after her parents paid more than $US1 million to get her into Georgetown University.
Henriquez and his wife Elizabeth are two of the 50 people charged in an elaborate multimillion-dollar college scam by which wealthy parents allegedly plotted to buy spots at prestigious universities.
It's alleged in the 204-page complaint the family paid at least $US425,000 (NZ$621,300) to dodgy college coach William Singer.
Singer, 59, has been indicted on charges of running an elaborate scheme to bribe university admissions officers.
Prosecutors said he arranged for fake "test takers" to appear on exam day to take the ACT and SAT university admission tests on behalf of his clients' children, staged fake photoshoots to help kids gain coveted scholarships and facilitated bribes with college coaches.
According to the complaint, Isabelle's parents paid $US25,000 (NZ$36,500) to arrange for a "proctor" to sit "side-by-side" with her and inconspicuously correct her answers during her SATs.
"After the exam, he 'gloated' with Elizabeth Henriquez and her daughter about the fact that they had cheated and gotten away with it," the documents read.
Isabelle received a score of 1900 out of 2400 — "an improvement of 320 points over the best score she had previously achieved taking the test legitimately". But it was still potentially too low to get into Georgetown without a bit of extra help.
That's where Singer stepped in again. It's alleged the Henriquezes conspired with him to bribe Gordon Ernst, the head tennis coach at Georgetown, a hefty $US950,000 ($A1.38 million) into designating Isabelle a tennis recruit.
Bear in mind, Isabelle had never once participated in a tennis tournament throughout her high school career.
"I have been really successful this summer playing tennis around the country," Isabelle allegedly wrote in a letter to Ernst. "I am looking forward to having a chance to be part of the Georgetown tennis team and make a positive contribution to your team's success."
She rewrote her college application essay with a focus on tennis, claiming she spent "three to four hours a day grinding out on and off-court workouts with the hopes of becoming successful enough to play college tennis especially at Georgetown".
Her application also allegedly claimed she played "club tennis" for 20 hours per week, was on the US Tennis Association's All-Academic team and was in the top 50 high school students on the USTA junior girls' tennis rankings for three years.
"In fact, records obtained from the USTA do not show that she played at any USTA tournaments in high school," prosecutors wrote in the complaint.
"At her best, she appears to have ranked 207th in Northern California in the under-12 girls division, with an overall win/loss record of 2-8."
Less than two weeks after submitting her application, Isabelle received a letter from the college informing her it had reviewed her application at the tennis coach's request and her admission was "likely". She would ultimately be accepted as a student.
At Georgetown, Isabelle majored in Spanish and worked as a tutor at Hoya Helpers, a program where Georgetown students teach local public schoolchildren.
According to The Daily Beast, she penned a blog entry for a sociology class in which she described herself as "very independent and not dependent on others when I need things".
"I also find that I have a good moral compass," she reportedly wrote. The entry has since been removed.
Hercules Capital announced Isabelle's father had "voluntarily stepped aside" as CEO in the wake of the scandal, according to Nasdaq.
FULL HOUSE STAR ARRESTED OVER SCAM
Full House star Lori Loughlin has been taken into custody in Los Angeles over alleged bribes to a US university to benefit her daughters.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a statement Loughlin was taken into custody on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.
She will be booked at the Metropolitan Detention Centre and is expected to appear before a federal magistrate at the US District Court in downtown LA.
Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, also allegedly worked with Singer to get their two daughters — Isabella and Olivia — into the elite University of Southern California.
According to court documents, they allegedly staged a photo of Isabella on an ergometer and claimed she was a skilled coxswain. However, their daughter "did not row competitively or otherwise participate in crew".
After the strategy worked for Isabella, they tried it again on Olivia.
The documents noted a "crew profile" was arranged in which she posed in action shots, including a "photograph of (Olivia) on an ergometer".
Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to "pay bribes totalling $US500,000 (NZ$1m) in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC".
It is not known whether Isabella and Olivia knew their parents had paid these bribes, but authorities noted that in most cases — excluding that of Isabelle Hernandez — the children were not aware.
The elite schools named in the scandal include USC, Wake Forest University, Yale University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.