50. During a call with CAPLAN and CAPLAN’s spouse on or about July 5, 2018, CW-1 suggested that they hire a member of his staff to take classes for her, in order to improve her grades in preparation for her application to college. CW-1 explained, “We would do them online and one of my people would take the class for her.” CAPLAN’s spouse replied that she had a “problem with that.” At that point, CAPLAN picked up the phone and spoke with CW-1 privately. The following are two excerpts from the conversation.
CAPLAN It’s just you and me. Is that kosher? I mean, can we?
CW-1 Absolutely, I do it all the time man. I do it all the time for families and then we take college classes for kids, you know, online to raise their GPA. Because again, it’s not, nobody knows who you are ’cause you’re, you don’t take a, there is nothing that, you know, is filmed when you take your test and everything, that’s what’s so great about it. So that’s why I asked.
CAPLAN Is, let me put it differently, if somebody catches this, what happens? CW-1 The only one who can catch it is if you guys tell somebody.
CAPLAN I am not going to tell anybody.
CW-1 Well (laughing)
CW-1 Neither am I. And, neither am I. So, the only way is, if somebody says at [your daughter’s] school, “Oh by the way, you re-took this class, congratulations, you got an A, blah, blah blah,” she can’t act like, “Really? When did I take that?”
CAPLAN I see, okay.
51. Later in the call, CAPLAN inquired again about the “ACT thing.”
CW-1 Yeah, so, you’re getting tested by our psychologist,
CW-1 I don’t know what she charges, and I, I don’t make any money on this stuff. I don’t really care about it to be frank with you. The school that she would be taking the test at, with the proctor, is $75,000 and we get the score we need to get. It’s one time, it’s done, she can’t, but she has to show up and be there. She’ll ask—
CAPLAN Done, done, not a problem.
CW-1 She’ll, she’ll think, right, she’ll think she took it. She’ll feel good about herself. She’ll get a great score and she’ll be like, “Mom and dad, can I...” You know what’s going to happen? She’s going to say, “Dad, can I re-take the test again? ’Cause I think I can do better.” And that happens all the time, right? She’ll get whatever, and we will say no, just so you know that.
CAPLAN But it will be somewhere in the 30s ....
CAPLAN Okay, well look, we are in for the, get her extra time, to the extent we can, extra time on the test.
CAPLAN And then and taking the test one time and get her a, you know, a score in the 30s.
CAPLAN We are in for that, at 75, not an issue.
CAPLAN Done. The other stuff (laughing)—
CW-1 That will be up to you guys, it doesn’t matter to me.
CAPLAN Yeah, I, I hear ya. It’s just, to be honest, I’m not worried about the moral issue here. I’m worried about the, if she’s caught doing that, you know, she’s finished. So, I, I just—
CW-1 It’s never happened before in twenty-some-odd years. The only way anything can happen is if she—
CAPLAN Someone talks—
CW-1 Yeah, if she tells somebody. And that’s why even on the payment to the school thing, nobody, we never tell the, you know, she just needs to know that you’re gonna get some help on this class.
CW-1 She’ll be more than happy.
CAPLAN Oh yeah, I, she, she won’t talk.
52. On or about July 21, 2018, CAPLAN and his daughter flew to Los Angeles to meet with a psychologist in an effort to obtain the medical documentation required to receive extended time on the ACT exam.
53. After twice denying the request, the ACT ultimately granted CAPLAN’s daughter extended time on the exam at the request of law enforcement on or about November 6, 2018. In a call two days later, CAPLAN asked CW-1, in sum and substance, whether anyone involved in the cheating scheme had ever been caught. The following is an excerpt from the conversation, which was consensually recorded.
CAPLAN So [my daughter] did get the extension. Totally unexpected. We got it last night.
CW-1 That’s cool. Cool.
CAPLAN Yeah. And you were right. I mean, it was like third time was the charm. So everybody was telling us there’s no way, and then all of a sudden it comes in through [her school]. So, again, and-- keep in mind I am a lawyer. So, I’m sort of rules oriented. Doing this with you, no way-- she’s taking the test. It’s her taking the test, right? There’s no way—
CAPLAN -- any trouble comes out of this, nothing like that?
CW-1 Okay. So-- so normally-- so let me-- [I] explained this to you before and—
CAPLAN Yes, and I-- and I apologize. It’s just—
CW-1 No, no. I get you.
CAPLAN Bear with me.
By the time of this conversation, CW-1 was cooperating with the government’s investigation.
CW-1 Okay. So, I’m going to-- I’ll explain to you the process and you get-- you get to decide the process. Okay? So, what normally happens in our case is I’ll call [CW- 2], who’s our proctor, and I’ll call Igor, who’s the principal of [the West Hollywood Test Center] and I’ll say, “Okay, what dates are you available?” Because, my guess, if you’re taking the ACT, our next test date is between December 8th and we have two weeks to take the test. Is that what the letter says?
CAPLAN That’s a good question.
CW-1 It should, but just call it that it is. Okay?
CW-1 All right. I’ll—
CAPLAN And I could-- I could forward it to you, too.
CW-1 Okay. That’s normally the case. So then-- so what happens is, is then you guys have already registered for the December 8th test at a national test center, correct?
CAPLAN I believe so, yes.
CW-1 Okay. So, then what happens is, I need the ticket that—
CAPLAN And your-- I’m sorry. Your e-mail is [E-MAIL ADDRESS REDACTED]
CW-1 It’s [E-MAIL ADDRESS REDACTED].
CAPLAN Yeah. At Gmail, right?
CW-1 Yes. [E-MAIL ADDRESS REDACTED].
CAPLAN Okay. Just sent it to you.
CW-1 Okay. So-- so what normally happens is, you’ll send me the ticket and then I will give it to Igor. Igor will do the paperwork so that the test center is moved to the [West Hollywood Test Center]. Okay?
CAPLAN Okay. Okay.
CW-1 So then what’ll happen is, instead of wherever she was going to take the test, it’ll-- now a test will show up-- usually the Wednesday before the 8th, at [the West Hollywood Test Center]. Then what’ll happen is, [CW-2], who is the proctor, will fly in, and he will show up on Friday night, just like you guys would show up on Friday night, and then on Saturday morning at 7:45, 8 o’clock, you guys will show up at the school, which is on [LOCATION REDACTED]. And then what’ll happen is, you’ll go in, [CW-2] will be your proctor. And so, this is-- this is, again, how it all works. She’ll take the test. It’ll be all her taking the test and then at the end of the test, it would be decided that we want to score, let’s say, 33, so that she never has to take the test again. It’ll be one and done. Then she’ll-- you guys will leave and then [CW-2] will then look at all of her answers. Because her answers will be put on a separate sheet of paper and then [CW-2] will go through the answers and will figure out on all four of the-- there’s five sections. The fifth is writing. On all four sections and he will decipher her answers and-- and he will go back and-- and ensure that he makes it so that her score ends up being between a 32 and 34, just depending on the curve for that particular test day. And normally he’s right on. And that is essentially how it would happen.
CAPLAN And has anybody ever gotten into an issue with this?
CW-1 Nobody. We’ve done this for four or five years and had probably 20-plus people do it. So-- but that’s the process.
CAPLAN Never been an issue?
CW-1 Never been an issue. So, the decision here is yours. I’m-- I’m not-- I don’t want to influence you in any way. It’s totally up to you guys, however you guys want to do this.
CAPLAN And do other-- are you guys the only ones who do this or--?
CW-1 Based on what I know. I only know myself and the families that we work with. And so, you know, we have lots and lots of families. Not everybody gets extended time. Not everybody gets extended time with multiple days. So, there’s lots of people who cannot do it and then there’s lots of people that do it. So, it’s kind of all in your corner. But now-- you understand the process now.
CAPLAN I do.
CW-1 So that, it’s really simple and easy, and it’s-- it’s up to you to decide one way or another. And it doesn’t matter to me. Whatever you guys want to do.
CAPLAN No, I understand that, [CW-1]. I-- I appreciate that and I-- I appreciate the candor here, and the directness. Okay. Give me a little bit to think about it and I will be back to you on it tomorrow. You-- you obviously need to firm this up right away, right?
CW-1 Yeah, because we’ll need to get the $25,000 wire and then I need to call [CW-2] and Igor to see-- to make sure they’re available. My guess is you guys are available on the 8th because you guys were going to take it on the 8th anyways.
CAPLAN Yeah. We’ll just make ourselves available.
54. On or about November 13, 2018, CAPLAN wired $25,000 to a bank account in Boston, Massachusetts in the name of the KWF charity that, unbeknownst to CAPLAN, CW-1 had opened at the direction of law enforcement agents. CW-1 had previously advised CAPLAN that the $25,000 would be a “deposit” to reserve the services of CW-2, who CW-1 said was his “best test-taker” and could “nail a score-- he’s that good.”
55. On or about November 15, 2018, CAPLAN called CW-1 about changing the location of the test to the West Hollywood Test Center, and again inquired whether anyone “has ever gotten in trouble with this?” The following is an excerpt from the conversation, which was consensually recorded.
CW-1 You got my-- you got my e-mail?
CAPLAN I did and, that’s sort of what I’m responding to, and part of the reason why I’m taking [my spouse] off of this. [My spouse is] very nervous about all this, and I just - I want to have a-- if we make this change, does that create some sort of suspicion or issue? They say, “Why the hell is somebody living in Greenwich taking it out in California?”
CW-1 Good point. Good point. So normally-- so anybody-- you know, for-- all of the kids that have taken the [test] some live somewhere else. They always-- and essentially if anybody were to-- to ask, essentially, “We’re going to a-- a bat mitzvah,” or, “We’re going to a wedding. We’re going to be gone that weekend. That’s the weekend we’re going to take the test.” In your case, for your daughter, because she goes to a-- an unorthodox school, not your typical-- you know, brick and mortar kind of place, it’s simple, because she could be playing a tournament there, we’ve got to take the test. Anything. But nobody ever asks them. But to-- you have to do this to be able to move the test from where it’s located. Plus, when you did your original ticket, I believe you didn’t have the time.
CAPLAN No, we didn’t.
CW-1 Right. So now you got to go to a place that will actually administer and proctor the test for you. Because the place that you would go on that national test center date, they could not do that at that center, because they don’t-- they have to have somebody special be a proctor, to go into a room-- a special room. But that’s why they don’t give those, with those kind of accommodations at a national test center.
CAPLAN [Let me] ask you straight up. You’ve never had an issue with this? No one has ever gotten in trouble with this?
CW-1 I’ve never—
CW-1 --had an issue with anybody. We’ve done this, you know, probably 20 times plus. We did it this summer, because, you know, they moved the ACT, they offered a July test date in California. You couldn’t take it in California so we-- we weren’t a test center for the-- the summer, so a young person had to go to Houston to do it. We just did it for the subject test for a-- actually a girl that lives both in New York and Aspen. So, nothing-- nothing to this point has happened.
CAPLAN Could you ever see that happening?
CW-1 I-- I’m not-- I have never seen it happen. The only-- so what happened is they changed the test form so that’s why Igor got confused, because the form is different for this new school year. So that’s why we called ACT, to say, “Okay, what’s the simplest way to do this, because she already had a regular ticket, not an accommodations ticket, and this is exactly what they told us on the phone.
CAPLAN But what I’m-- what I’m asking is, is there any way for this to get back to [my daughter] or to the family? I mean, this comes out-- I-- I don’t even want to know what you guys do.
CW-1 So the-- so here-- again, let me just-- I’ll just go retrace again. When [your daughter] takes the test, on the 8th, she’s going to take the test like she’s regularly taking the test, but she will take it, [CW-2] will be there. [CW-2] can answer any questions that she has. But [CW-2] will proctor the test. She will have all the time, she’ll use her computer. She will think when she’s done with the test she has taken the test. No doubt about it. The difference is-- is that what we’ll do is, instead of her bubbling into the test, which we do with all kids who have learning differences, is they bub-- they write their answers on a separate sheet to the side of it, so that we can rebubble, so we don’t screw up the bubbling, which happens a lot for kids. Because they screw up their bubbling. And then she’ll-- she’ll leave at the end of the test time. Which I don’t know who’s going to take her. And then—
CAPLAN I will. I’ll be there.
CW-1 Okay. And you’ll-- you’ll meet [CW-2] and Igor, and you’ll-- you’ll go your own way. [Your daughter] will go in and take the test. She’ll be the only one, taking it in the room with-- with [CW-2]. She will take the test. She will walk out the door. At the end of it she’ll say to you, “Dad, it was so hard,” or “I’m so tired,” or whatever the typical reaction out of the kid. Then [CW-2] will finish the exam. He will then take the exam and look at her-- what she’s done, and then ensure that whatever score we decide that we want to get-- he has it down to a-- unbelievable that he can do it. Get that number based on the four sections. She’ll do the computer writing of the essay herself. That’ll be all her. He can help her if she wants some guidance [inaudible] approach. But other than that, that will be all her writing. And she will sign it and she’ll walk out of there and she will never know that this actually occurred. You will get your results back in, you know, anywhere from, 11-- depends on what day it goes back in. But anywhere from 11 to 20 days. And she’ll get her results and she’ll say, “Oh, my God, Dad, I got a 33!”
CAPLAN So she’s been taking Logic Prep and has been getting-- I think her highest score so far is a 22, and she’ll probably get up to a 24 on her next practice test. The fact that this could be different than what she had been showing on the practice test—
CW-1 What-- so you tell me if you want-- would [you] prefer to have her get a 28? 27? 28? 29? Probably based on what you’re just telling me right now, right, that -- maybe that’s a better approach, because that’s still a very good score with her abilities and disability but—
CAPLAN Well, I-- I’m thinking 30, 31 is all we need to do here.
CW-1 Okay. Done deal. Done deal. It’ll be-- it’ll be 30, 31. So what happens is the test is curved. I don’t know if you know that. The test is curved against everybody in the country. So, it can-- we can be one question off, or two questions off, and it can be a 30, it can be a 31. It may be a 29. It could be a 32. Just depends on the curve of the day. But it’ll be-- it’ll be right there.
CAPLAN But what I’m asking you is, will that be an issue? So, when Logic Prep asks us, well, how did she score, will they say, “Hmm?”
CW-1 So - well, I don’t think it matters what they say, because at the end of the day she had a great day, they get credit for her doing really well and they have nothing to do with ACT and/or the colleges she’s going to apply [to].
CAPLAN And they don’t feel incumbent on them to say this is suspicious?
CW-1 Well, I don’t see why they would. It would only be a success story for them.
CAPLAN Okay. Okay. I will send out the e-mail and I will send you what I get back.
56. On or about December 6, 2018, two days before the ACT exam, CAPLAN and CW-1 spoke again. The following is an excerpt from the conversation, which was consensually recorded.
CAPLAN When will we know the score?
CW-1 Normally, you know, the score, between-- it could be, in 11 days or it could be in 20 days. It depends on-- so what normally happens is Igor sends everything in on Monday. And because they’re giving the test nationally as long as the test is in by Wednesday, then usually you get scored with everybody else in the country, because everybody has to have-- from their test centers-- have to have their tests back. And then normally you get your scores back in anywhere from 11 to 20 days. And there’s been times when it’s taken as much as 30 days but that would be because there’s an issue across the country, not because of anything that happened with her.
CAPLAN And the score we’re hoping for here is, we’re really hoping for, is a 32. Is that what we discussed?
CW-1 You tell me. Whatever you think we want to have. And we will get within one point. So, if you say 32, it’ll be either 31, 32, 33. If you say you want 31, it’ll be 30, 31, 32. It just depends on the curve of the test for that day.
CAPLAN Yeah, I-- I don’t want it to be higher than a 32.
CW-1 Okay. So—
CAPLAN It’s just-- it’s just going to be hard to justify in light-- light of-- [CW-1] look—
CW-1 No, I t—
CAPLAN I, this is all a hope, right? What she-- what we hope she can do.
CAPLAN We hope she can get a 32 or pretty close thereto.
CW-1 Got you. So, can I just-- I want to clarify. So, she’s going to take the test on her own, she’s going to do her best, all that stuff, and then we’re going to do our magic on the back end.
CAPLAN You’re going to-- you’re going to do what you do.
CW-1 Okay, all right, I just want to make sure that the -- I just want to sure that we’re all on the same page. That essentially, that’s why I know I can get a 31, 32, you know, so we’re going to aim for 31, so that if we go 30 or 32 we’re safe, how’s that?
CAPLAN I think that’s fine.
CW-1 Okay, I—
CAPLAN I think that’s fine, I-- I’m just, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, [CW-1], you understand my—
CW-1 I totally get it.
CAPLAN And you are absolutely confident there is no issue here.
CW-1 We’ve been doing this for a long time. Luckily she’ll be the only one taking the test, on Saturday. Sometimes there’s multiple kids. So, all I can do is just tell you that [CW-2] will fly in from Florida. He is an expert at getting within-- it just depends on one-point standard deviation on the -- whatever the curve is. Igor does his part. He signs off. He’s the site coordinator. Nobody’ll be there but you guys. And that’ll be it. And I, you know, I’ve never even been there, I—
CAPLAN Igor has never had an-- Igor has never had an issue? He has no blemishes on anybody?
CW-1 No. No issues at all.
57. On or about December 8, 2018, law enforcement agents observed Dvorskiy arrive at the West Hollywood Test Center at approximately 7:05 a.m. CAPLAN and his daughter arrived approximately ten minutes later, and Dvorskiy, CAPLAN and CAPLAN’s daughter went inside the building. At approximately 7:21 a.m., CW-2 entered the West Hollywood Test Center. At approximately 7:31 a.m., Dvorskiy and CAPLAN walked out of the building and had a brief conversation. At approximately 11:52 a.m., CAPLAN’s daughter left the West Hollywood Test Center, met CAPLAN, and drove away.
58. On or about December 20, 2018, CAPLAN wired an additional $50,000 into the KWF bank account in Boston.