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A California couple accused of paying $ 25,000 for cheating on their son’s college entrance test have pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial in federal court that would have started this month.

Dr Gregory Colburn, 63, and Amy Colburn, 52, of Palo Alto, reached a deal in early December to avoid trial. On Dec. 4, they pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and email fraud, as well as honest service mail and email fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell said in a statement.

The Silicon Valley couple was to be tried from January 13 in the US District Court in Boston. A formal plea hearing was not immediately scheduled.

Mendell said the Colburns had agreed to plead guilty for their role in a scheme to defraud the College Board by paying William “Rick” Singer $ 25,000 to bribe Igor Dvorskiy, a corrupt test administrator.

Dvorskiy, in turn, caused fake test proctor Mark Riddell to fraudulently inflate the Colburn’s son’s SAT exam score, Mendell said.

Singer, Dvorskiy and Riddell all pleaded guilty to federal charges related to their respective roles in the scheme.

As part of a plea deal, the Colburns each agreed – subject to federal court approval – to serve eight weeks in prison, along with one year of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and fined $ 12,500, Mendell’s office said.

The couple number nearly 60 wealthy parents, sports trainers and others indicted since March 2019 in the case called “Operation Varsity Blues”. The Singer-led program involved rigging test results and paying sports coaches to help students get into the country’s top universities, prosecutors said.

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