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Wine Spectator: Napa Vintner Agustin F. Huneeus Sentenced to Five Months for Role in College Admissions Scandal

October 4, 2019

Augustin F. Huneeus, the Napa vintner who pleaded guilty for his role in the college admissions scandal dubbed “Varsity Blues” by the FBI, has been sentenced to five months in prison. A federal judge in Boston issued the sentence today, also imposing a $100,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.

Huneeus, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud on May 21, for his part in a nationwide scheme where wealthy parents used fraud and bribes to get their children spots at some of the nation’s top universities. “Lying came naturally to Mr. Huneeus,” a U.S. attorney told the courtroom at today’s sentencing hearing.

Addressing the court before the sentence was handed down, Huneeus said, “Today is a hard day, a super hard day. I want more than anything to pay for my crime and atone for the harm I have caused… The consequences of my crime have been devastating to my friends and family. I am ashamed.”

The scheme centered around college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, 58, who pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges and has cooperated with authorities. Singer’s sentencing date hasn’t been set. More than 52 defendants have now faced charges in the case, including 13 coaches, two entrance exam administrators and 35 wealthy parents, from actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman to wealthy executives, accused of trying to secure admissions for their kids at elite schools like Stanford, Yale and USC. Wine Spectator has the full story.—Mitch Frank

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