C. GREGORY ABBOTT and MARCIA ABBOTT
GREGORY ABBOTT is the founder and chairman of a packaging company for the food and beverage industry, and the former chairman and CEO of a private-label clothing manufacturer.
60. As set forth below, in or about April 2018, the ABBOTTS made a purported charitable donation of $50,000 to KWF, in exchange for which CW-1 arranged to have CW-2 purport to proctor their daughter’s ACT and correct her answers after she had completed it.
61. In or about March 2018, MARCIA ABBOTT e-mailed CW-1 her daughter’s ACT registration form and admissions ticket, in preparation for her daughter to take the ACT at the West Hollywood Test Center.
62. On or about April 9, 2018, CW-1’s accountant e-mailed GREGORY ABBOTT an invoice for $50,000, with a note thanking him for his “generous donation to the Key Worldwide Foundation.” CW-1 was copied on the e-mail, and later forwarded it to MARCIA ABBOTT.
63. Three days later, $50,000 was wired from a brokerage account in the name of the Abbott Family Foundation to a bank account in the name of the KWF charity. That same day, GREGORY ABBOTT left CW-1 a voicemail stating, in substance, that he had sent the wire.
64. On or about April 13, 2018, CW-2 flew from Tampa, Florida to Los Angeles, California. The following day, the ABBOTTS’ daughter took the ACT at the West Hollywood Test Center. CW-2 purported to proctor the exam and, after the ABBOTTS’ daughter had completed it, corrected her answers. On or about April 15, 2018, CW-2 returned to Florida.
65. On or about April 17, 2018, at CW-1’s direction, KWF paid Dvorskiy $20,000, representing $10,000 for the ABBOTTS’ daughter and $10,000 for the son of I-HSIEN “JOEY” CHEN, who took the ACT at the West Hollywood Test Center at the same time as the ABBOTTS’ daughter, as set forth below. On or about May 14, 2018, KWF paid CW-2 $20,000, representing $10,000 for each of the two students.
66. The ABBOTTS’ daughter received a score of 35 out of a possible 36 on the exam.
67. On or about June 6, 2018, MARCIA ABBOTT called CW-1 to inquire, in substance, whether CW-1 could arrange for someone to take SAT subject tests for her daughter. The call was intercepted pursuant to a Court-authorized wiretap. CW-1 replied, “[GREGORY ABBOTT] would have to be willing to pay for it.” MARCIA ABBOTT responded, “Yeah, well he can donate, I mean, whatever the donations are.”
68. On or about August 3, 2018, MARCIA ABBOTT called CW-1 to inquire, in substance, how cheating on the subject tests would work. The following is an excerpt from the conversation.
51. Later in the call, CAPLAN inquired again about the “ACT thing.”
MARCIA ABBOTT What is the situation with subject tests? Is it basically the same that happened with the SATs?
CW-1 Yeah, it’s a little more a little more expensive because now you gotta have somebody which, you gotta make sure that you do well on both of those areas. It’s not like the SATs. They’re much harder.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah, well they’re very specialized, and for her she was gonna take Math II and English Lit.
CW-1 Right, so if we have somebody help her, I have to get, I have to figure out who that’s gonna be, that’s gonna be able to take care of both of those
MARCIA ABBOTT Alright, she loves the guy [CW-2] who took the SATs, she said. She said she started having heart palpitations, but she said he was so sweet, he let me walk around the hallway. She said, “Can’t I take my SAT subjects with him?” And I said, “Nah, I don’t think so. I mean, I think, you know, you just, it’s whole different area and that was ’cause we happened to be out in California seeing schools. So, you know we’re gonna take them here.” So, alright, so there’s no way for [August] 27th. Then I guess we should take them here down [in the Aspen area] on the 27th and let’s see how she does.
CW-1 Absolutely, absolutely.
MARCIA ABBOTT And what would be, the donation be for, if you found someone for October? Because the other one was, what, $50,000?
CW-1 It was, I think it was 50. It will be at least 75.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah, that’s fine.
69. In a call on or about September 4, 2018, MARCIA ABBOTT told CW-1, in substance, that she wanted to proceed with the cheating scheme for the SAT subject tests because her daughter did not think she had done well on the tests she had taken on her own. The following are two excerpts from the conversation.
MARCIA ABBOTT Can your people can cover the math and lit?
CW-1 Yes, if they’re available that weekend.
MARCIA ABBOTT If so, yes, October 6th. So, I guess they give a mix alright. Well, let’s see how she does, she’s convinced that she bombed the lit because she was too tired, so ... And [Duke University] told us they didn’t want anything below a 750.
CW-1 That’s right.
MARCIA ABBOTT It doesn’t, it doesn’t add to her resume.
CW-1 That’s correct because, yeah well, she would have—
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah.
CW-1 Good thing that she did this for the ACT, ’cause her score was not exceptional.
MARCIA ABBOTT What? Excuse me what’d you say?
CW-1 I said it was a good thing that we did it for the first test.
MARCIA ABBOTT Oh yeah, my gosh, I mean, I’m sure her, you kidding me? She was gonna throw up like every single drug in the world for mono and lyme [disease]. I’m sure it was a disaster.
CW-1 She got, she got a 23.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah, that would be what I would have guessed at, 25, you know. So yeah, I mean, yeah, I don’t know. We’ll see how she does on the math. But she herself even says she doesn’t have high hopes for English Lit.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah, so do you think we should do it now then, this week?
CW-1 I have to, I have to ask the person in Houston if she’ll do it.
MARCIA ABBOTT Oh, so it’d be in Houston.
CW-1 Yeah, because the person, the person who’s gonna be the proctor is based in, half the time, somewhere across the country.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah alright, well I rather do, I rather go for it then. Because you know what, even she gets like a 740, 730 on her math, she still needs to get higher.
CW-1 Okay, well I’ll talk to the person in Houston tomorrow and see, and the proctor and see if they’re available.
MARCIA ABBOTT Okay, great. And that’s your only one in the country?
CW-1 Nobody in the country even has one.
MARCIA ABBOTT Okay, no, I just wanted to know if they’re not available, if for some—
CW-1 That this is like, nobody, nobody can do this.
MARCIA ABBOTT And if they’re not available then that’s it? There’s just, there’s just one person?
CW-1 Well then, we can do it in November if they’re available.
MARCIA ABBOTT And November’s not too hard [or] late for early [action]?
CW-1 Not if it is what it is, she’s not getting into any schools without them.
MARCIA ABBOTT Yeah I know.
MARCIA ABBOTT Okay, well let’s see. Let’s see what we can do.
70. On or about September 13, 2018, the Abbott Family Foundation made a purported donation of $75,000 to the KWF charity.
71. In a call with MARCIA ABBOTT on or about September 28, 2018, CW-1 confirmed that the SAT subject tests would occur at the West Hollywood Test Center, and also discussed the scoring of the tests. CW-1 said, “We’ll get 750 and above,” to which MARCIA ABBOTT replied, “That’s fabulous.”
72. On or about October 5, 2018, CW-1 called MARCIA ABBOTT at the direction of law enforcement agents. The following is an excerpt from the conversation, which was consensually recorded.
CW-1 Did you guys get to L.A.?
MARCIA ABBOTT We did. We just checked in. We got on the last flight out of Aspen last night.
CW-1 Congratulations. So, I’m in Boston today, but I just wanted to make sure, everything was cool. I know [CW-2] has already gotten there to proctor the test. Igor will be there in the morning, so everything should go smoothly. So, I just wanted to make sure you-- everything’s cool with you guys.
MARCIA ABBOTT Fabulous. Yeah, everything’s fine. Igor’s the one who proctored her before? Or was it [CW-2]?
CW-1 No, [CW-2] did. Igor will be, the person-- he’s the test administrator for the school.
73. On or about October 6, 2018, law enforcement agents observed Dvorskiy arrive at the West Hollywood Test Center at approximately 7:28 a.m., with MARCIA ABBOTT and her daughter arriving approximately 15 minutes later.
74. In a call on or about October 8, 2018, which was consensually recorded, CW-2— who was not cooperating with the government’s investigation at the time—told CW-1 that he believed he had scored “800 on the math” and between 700 and 800 on the literature test.
75. In a call on or about October 18, 2018, CW-1 discussed the SAT subject tests with GREGORY ABBOTT. In the call, CW-1 advised GREGORY ABBOTT, in substance, that “it was a good move” for him to pay $75,000 to have CW-2 take the exam for his daughter. GREGORY ABBOTT then inquired how his daughter would have scored in the absence of cheating. The following is an excerpt from the call, which was consensually recorded.
GREGORY ABBOTT Do you know how she did on her own?
CW-1 Do I know how she did on her own? Yeah, I do. She scored in the mid-600s.
GREGORY ABBOTT Yeah.
76. Ultimately, the ABBOTTS’ daughter received a score of 800 out of a possible 800 on the math subject test and 710 on the literature subject test.