A man accused of paying at least $425,000 to purchase his daughter’s admission to Georgetown University has stepped aside from the helm of a major California venture capital firm, according to the company, making him the latest alleged fraudster to lose their job after a vast cash-for-college conspiracy was revealed on Tuesday.
Manuel Henriquez, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Northern California venture debt firm Hercules Capital, “has voluntarily stepped aside,” the company said on Wednesday morning, but will as continue as a board member and advisor. He was paid $8,235,700 in total compensation in 2017.
Henriquez, whose daughter Isabella knowingly participated in the cheating scheme, according to federal prosecutors, is one of 50 people charged in a $25 million scheme to bribe, cheat and lie their children’s way into a host of elite universities, including Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and Yale University. Henriquez’s wife, Elizabeth, was also charged, alongside Hollywood stars, bigshot attorneys, and other Silicon Valley tycoons, in the largest educational fraud case in history.
The venture capitalist is just one of several people have been ousted from their jobs following the scandal.
Bill McGlashan, CEO of a “social-impact” investment fund managed by TPG Growth, is alleged in the complaint of having paid Singer to cheat on his son’s ACT exam, as well as to create a fake football profile using Photoshop, to help his son get into the University of Southern California. After the charges were revealed, TPG released a statement announcing that, “as a result of the charges of personal misconduct against Bill McGlashan, we have placed Mr. McGlashan on indefinite administrative leave effective immediately.”
Gordon Caplan, the co-chairman of white-shoe law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher who allegedly faked his daughter’s disability in exchange for more time on the ACTs, “has been placed on a leave of absence” and will have no further management responsibilities, according to a statement from the firm. “This is a personal matter and does not involve Willkie or any of its clients.”
Gordon Ernst, the former Georgetown University tennis coach who allegedly took millions of dollars in bribes from The Key between 2012 and 2018, was placed on administrative leave by the University of Rhode Island on Tuesday. William Ferguson, a volleyball coach at Wake Forest University, was also placed on leave, “effective immediately.”
John Vandemoer, a Stanford University sailing coach who allegedly took bribes to recommend two non-sailors as potential recruits, was fired by the university on Tuesday for behavior that “runs completely counter to Stanford’s values.”
According to the complaint—the result of a 300-person investigation by the FBI—the parents collectively funneled tens of millions of dollars into Edge College & Career Network, a college preparatory service also known as The Key. In exchange, the company’s founder, William Singer, used that money to pay crooked proctors to change the answers on standardized tests, falsify athletics credentials, and bribe college coaches to designate the students as potential athletic recruits.
Singer has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, money laundering conspiracy, obstruction of justice and racketeering conspiracy, and is cooperating with federal investigators.
If convicted on the felony charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, Henriquez and all the other parents face up to five years in prison.