A California mom who falsely claimed that her White son was Black and Latino on a college admission form was sentenced to three weeks in prison and fined $9,500.
Marjorie Klapper pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She also admitted to paying $15,000 to participate in the college test score inflation scheme set up by Rick Singer.
Klapper is the ninth parent to be sentenced for taking part in the college admissions scandal.
Prosecutors say Klapper’s engagement in multiple types of fraud spanned over the course of three years. She first contacted Singer in 2014 to help prepare her older son for college admission tests.
According to prosecutors, Educational Testing Services (ETS) accused her son of cheating after her son scored 2140 out of 2400 on his SAT. ETS stated that there was a discrepancy between his PSAT and SAT scores and a “substantial agreement” between his answers and those of another student.
When ETS threatened to cancel her son’s score, Klapper submitted a fake invoice and claimed her son had taken more than 170 hours of private tutoring to explain his improvement. ETS canceled his score anyway.
Two years later, Klapper reached out to again Singer to have her younger son take his SAT at Singer’s rigged testing center in West Hollywood.
Klapper’s younger son then took his ACT at the testing center in October 2017. After he completed the exam, a conspiring proctor corrected his answers to improve his score to a 30 out of a possible 36, prosecutors said. Klapper then paid $15,000 to Singer’s bogus charity, Key Worldwide Foundation.
In addition to the test score inflation, Klapper also agreed with Singer to falsify her son’s college applications by claiming that he was black or Latino and that he was a first-generation college student, even though both she and his father graduated from college.
Prosecutors had recommended Klapper be sentenced to four months and fined her $20,000. Klapper’s attorneys sought no additional prison time, asking for one year of supervised release, including four months of home confinement, as well as 300 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine.
“She purposefully sought to portray her son as a minority, and the child of parents who did not attend college, despite the fact that he was neither, because she thought that lie would further bolster his college prospects,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “She thereby increased the likelihood that her fraud would come at the expense of an actual minority candidate, or an applicant who was actually the first in his or her family to attend college.”