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Response to lsewpershad (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 12:08 PM

5. Devil's always in the details.

One's state law and had costs involved. There are specific laws for fraud against the government. My school sends counselors and APs out from time to time to check up on kid's addresses and when they find the kid isn't living in the district they almost always expel them with prejudice. There's a variety of reasons parents have to this kind of fraud, and a variety of reasons schools have for fighting it. I find the most convincing to be that those out of zone or district will more often have attendance problems, disruptive for both kid and teacher. I've also seen administrators not expel kids--immigrant family lives in district for 8 months, has to move because dad's been deported and so mom and kids move in with a cousin, one month till the end of school, let the kid scrape by. "Yes, the child is living in zone."

Note that this is also fraud. I'm sure that few have a problem with law breaking when they agree morally with the law breaker. (I acknowledge my bias here. But I know that it's bias.)

In this case, here's the status of defendants and their charges: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme. Charges against Caplan: "Conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud."

https://whitecollarattorney.net/federal-sentencing-guidelines/ says for the first part, up to 20 years. But notice that this crime includes a lot of very, very bad acts: Defraud people of $20 million in retirement savings? In this law. Defraud the government of millions? This law. He had somebody take a test for his kid. Point to the victim (besides the kid). Right, it's a problem. The agency-internal guidelines are going to be rather more detailed, based on a reading of the statute and, more importantly, case law. They're unlikely to have the maximum if they know 99x out of 100 they'll be ignored.

But the government's recommended sentence was 8 months in prison, one year of supervised release, fine of $40,000. But that's not taking into account everything the defendant's lawyer says, the defendant's demeanor. And it's a guess. What's the harshest sentence that the judge is likely to accept?


The second half took some work for me to understand. "Honest services mail fraud" is, it turns out, a companion offense. It's all but meaningless without hooking up with a "real" offense, and this is added because somebody was indirectly hurt by what you did in a way that's hard to quantify. It goes back to "Point to the victim." Well, the kid whose test score would come back higher than he could pull off would stand a better chance of getting into a good school. If 12000 kids are going to apply and 5000 accepted in hopes of having 2500 attend, having this particular kid's scores high would increase the likelihood he'd been one of the 5000. That means there a chance that the kid who would have been #5000 is demoted to #5001 and is waitlisted. That kid was deprived of the right to honest services. ("Waitlisted" is a emotion-coddling term for "you didn't make the cut and there's just about no chance we'll call on you to attend, but if it makes you feel less rejected at actually being rejected, suit yourself."

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Eugene Oct 2019 OP
GeorgeGist Oct 2019 #1
beachbumbob Oct 2019 #2
customerserviceguy Oct 2019 #3
lsewpershad Oct 2019 #4
LineLineNew Reply Devil's always in the details.
Igel Oct 2019 #5
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