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Parent with Las Vegas ties pleads guilty in college bribery scheme

Updated August 16, 2021 - 5:34 pm

A former media executive with Las Vegas ties pleaded guilty on Monday for her role in a sweeping national college bribery scam as part of a deal with federal prosecutors, eliminating the need for a trial that was set to begin next month.

Elisabeth Kimmel, 57, is the 32nd parent to plead guilty in the scheme, previously described by authorities as the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

During Monday’s virtual hearing, prosecutor Ian Stearns laid out the allegations against Kimmel, who is said to have paid more than a half-million dollars in bribes to secure admission for two of her children into elite schools on either side of the country.

Kimmel, who is out of custody, was stoic throughout the hearing as she sat between two of her attorneys in what appeared to be a living room.

“Do you disagree with anything that he says the government would be able to prove?” asked U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton.

After a long pause, Kimmel responded, “No.”

She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

As part of the deal, Kimmel is expected to be sentenced to six weeks in prison and two years of supervised release, with the first year spent under house arrest. In addition, she would be required to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service.

Her sentencing is set for December in Boston, where the case is being prosecuted.

Kimmel and her husband, Gregory, who is not charged in the scheme, had relocated to Las Vegas from Southern California just months before her March 2019 indictment. Clark County property records indicate that the couple still owns a penthouse just east of the Strip in the Turnberry Towers complex.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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