Las Vegas suspects involved in corruption case at college must be heard in Boston

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Both parents of Las Vegas charged in the national system of corruption in colleges are expected in federal court in Boston at the end of the month.

Old Strip casino director Gamal Aziz and former San Diego media officer Elisabeth Kimmel each is accused of paying bribes of several hundred thousand dollars for his children to be admitted to elite universities

Both are the subject of charges of conspiracy to commit a postal fraud and fraud of honest services. Las Vegas Attorney Bill Terry said that there were common federal charges.

"These generally apply to public servants, such as a councilor, a county commissioner, a city commissioner," Terry said. "So it's quite unique that they are not politicians. But they always fall under the status. "

Hearing of March 29

Aziz is accused of paying a $ 300,000 bribe for his daughter's admission to the University of Southern California as a basketball rookie. She started attending school in the fall but is not part of the basketball team.

Nothing in the minutes indicates that his daughter was aware of any arrangement whatsoever.

The father, who was charged with Gamal Abdelaziz, appeared Tuesday in front of a US judge in Las Vegas carrying chains, according to the minutes of the Federal Court. After a brief hearing, Aziz, who uses an abbreviated version of his last name, was released under his appointment.

A federal public defender represented Aziz at the hearing, but the court records indicate that Aziz intends to retain the services of a council in Massachusetts, where the The case is continued.

Kimmel is charged with paying $ 275,000 through a family foundation for her daughter's admission to Georgetown University as a tennis rookie in 2013. She is also charged with paying at least 200 US $ 000 by the same foundation for the admission of his son to USC as a track recruiter.

Her daughter graduated from Georgetown in 2017 but has never played tennis. His son, who started school in the fall, is not part of the track and field team.

Nothing in the court records indicates that Kimmel's son or daughter was aware of any arrangement.

Kimmel is scheduled to appear in Boston on March 29. It's unclear why she will not be appearing in Nevada for the first time, although Terry speculated that a lawyer had an arrangement with prosecutors. Aziz must also appear on March 29th.

Nearly 50 people, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were named in the case. Several former school coaches and track and field officials have also been indicted.

Cooperating witness

The court records include transcripts of recorded telephone calls between a cooperating witness and each of the parents in Las Vegas.

During a phone call with Aziz, the unidentified witness discussed the quality of a fake basketball profile prepared by a girl for her daughter, pointing out that the director of sports of the same name. USC, Donna Heinel, "loved it".

"It was really well done," said the witness, quoting Heinel, "and from now on, whoever is not a true basketball player who is a woman, I want you to use this profile to move forward. ".

"I like it," Aziz replied.

Heinel was also charged in the case and was fired on Tuesday.

In another telephone interview with Aziz, the witness mentioned that if someone asked Heinel why his daughter was not part of the basketball team, Heinel was ready to say that she suffered from plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the heel tissues that "is typical of a lot of athletes. "

"It's good," said Aziz. "I will answer the same thing, they call me."

During a recorded phone call with Kimmel and her husband, Gregory, the couple worried about their son's orientation at the USC, during which their son met with an educational advisor.

"Apparently, the counselor said something like," Oh, so you're a track athlete? " [my son] said "No," said Gregory Kimmel, according to the records. "Cause, then [my son] has no idea, and what is it – the way we want to keep it. "

Gregory Kimmel is not charged. The evidence of knowledge of a bribery scheme might not be enough for prosecutors to charge him, said Terry.

"He should have done something for mail fraud or honest services," said Terry. "Provided with money, for example. Cosigned a letter. "

The man signed a $ 50,000 check to the USC Women's Athletic Board, according to the court records. But we do not know if this gift was directly related to the so-called admission system.

In another recorded appeal with Elisabeth Kimmel, the witness asked the woman to say that her son "was injured during the summer", if confessions asked him to call to ask why he did not show up. track training.

"Agreement," said Elisabeth Kimmel before the end of the call.

Shortly after, she called back the witness, asking if a confession could call her son about it too. The witness said no.

"Then I will not say anything to [my son]Elisabeth Kimmel said: "Because he (laughs) -"

"No, do not say anything," said the witness.

"Always in the dark," continued the mother.

USC representatives did not respond to a request for comment as to whether the registration status of Kimmel's son or Aziz's daughter would change as a result of the charges brought by the parents.

A statement released Tuesday afternoon indicates that the USC is aware of "the large-scale criminal investigation" and indicates that the university "is currently reviewing its admissions process so as to to ensure that such actions no longer occur in the future ".

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. To follow @ rachelacrosby on Twitter.