November 01, 2019 Feature

Beyond the Mob: “Varsity Blues” and DOJ’s Expanding Use of RICO to Prosecute White-Collar Crime

John R. Mitchell, Steven A. Block, Sarah M. Hall, and Mark R. Butscha Jr.

It is a fact of American life that parents want their kids to go to the best schools. Sometimes wealthy parents are known to attempt to grease the skids for their children by donating large sums of money to top universities. But given the highly competitive nature of college admissions and the massive endowments at the most prestigious schools (the market value of Harvard’s endowment is reported to be about $38 billion), sometimes a donation may not be enough. As seen by the recent federal charges and guilty pleas in the “Varsity Blues” Department of Justice (DOJ) takedown, enterprising parents have been tempted to break the law to ensure their children’s admission by falsifying academic records, athletic accomplishments, and test scores.

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