New York food and beverage distributor Gregory Abbott and his wife allegedly paid over $100,000 to help their daughter cheat on the SAT and ACT, authorities said.
The couple gave admitted mastermind William “Rick” Singer bribes of $50,000 and $75,000 to have an on-the-take proctor doctor their teen’s tests to bring the scores up to snuff, prosecutors charge.
“Do you know how she did on her own?” Abbott asked Singer in an October 2018 phone call tapped by authorities days after the student arrived at a California testing center to take two SAT subject tests, in math and English literature.
“Yeah, I do,” Singer replied, according to a transcript included in court filings. “She scored in the mid-600s” out of 800.
But after allegedly crooked SAT administrator Igor Dvorskiy got his hands on the teen’s tests, her scores were boosted to a perfect 800 on the math exam and 710 on the lit test, filings say.
The outside help also bumped up the student’s score on the ACT from a 23 out of 36 to a nearly flawless 35, filings show.
It’s unclear which schools the college hopeful applied for or ended up attending, but her mom, also charged in the case, mentioned in one recorded conversation with Singer that they’d been in contact with Duke University to find out its requirements.
Gregory, 68, and Marcia Abbott, 59, each face federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
In an appearance Tuesday at federal court in lower Manhattan, bail for Gregory Abbott — founder of International Dispensing Corp., a food and drink distribution company — was set at $500,000 bond.
“Mr. Abbott plays a very small role in this conspiracy,” argued his lawyer, Jennifer Willis, in objecting to the bail amount.
Marcia Abbott, who lives in Aspen, Colo., with their 18-year-old daughter, was set to appear in court separately.
At the family’s Park Avenue apartment building, a man who identified himself as the couple’s son gave a profanity-laced portrayal of his parents as victims.
“They got roped into [this by] some guy who f–king cheated them,” said the man, who referred to the defendants as his “parents” but later claimed to be a “friend of the family.”
“They’re in their 60s, but they’re also … removed from the real world,” he said. “They don’t f–king understand this s–t.”
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