By Brooke Beyer
A top administrator at the L.A. private school at the heart of last year’s admissions scandal will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and has agreed to cooperate with investigators, according to court documents released Tuesday. The plea will aid prosecutors who may seek to use his admission of guilt against parents still denying involvement in the scandal, according to the L.A. Times.
Igor Dvorskiy served as director of the West Hollywood College Preparatory School and routinely conspired with William “Rick” Singer, the architect of the Varsity Blues scandal, to fix students’ test scores in return for bribes, according to the L.A. Times. Singer directed his clientele, largely wealthy parents, to register their children to take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT at Dvorskiy’s school or a Houston public high school. After students took the test at the West Hollywood site, Singer’s co-conspirator, Mark Riddell, would correct student’s answers, boosting their score.
Dvorskiy would proceed to return the fraudulent exams to the College Board, attesting that they had been completed honestly, according to the plea agreement obtained by the L.A. Times.
Singer charged his clients between $15,000 and $75,000 to fix a test, of which Dvorskiy and Riddell received significant portions. Prosecutors estimate Dvorskiy pocketed $10,000 for each exam he rigged.
Dvorskiy’s plea, which is expected to be filed no later than Nov. 20, marks a reversal from his initial choice, when he was arrested in March, to plead not guilty to racketeering conspiracy.
His latest decision follows a series of guilty pleas from parents, administrators, and coaches involved in the conspiracy. Among them is actress Felicity Huffman, who pled guilty to paying $15,000 for Riddell to inflate her daughter’s SAT score at Dvorskiy’s school. Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service for her involvement.
Singer himself was arrested last September and pleaded guilty to four felonies in March. Riddell pled guilty in April to conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. Both men cooperated with authorities and are awaiting sentencing.
Dvorskiy’s cooperation may result in recommendations for a shortened sentence if prosecutors determine his information useful. Without cooperation, his racketeering charge could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to CNN.
Dvorskiy will testify against others implicated in the scandal if called upon, prosecutors say.
Dvorskiy’s reversal bolsters prosecutors’ argument that accused parents knowingly conspired with Singer through Dvorskiy’s school. Currently, 19 parents are denying government allegations of their involvement in Singer’s scam, eight of whom paid for test fixing at Dvorskiy’s school.
Contact Brooke Beyer at bbeyer ‘at’ stanford.edu.