A California couple who paid $125,000 to boost their daughter’s ACT and SAT test scores have been sentenced to one month in prison, a Boston federal judge ruled Tuesday. Gregory Abbott and Marcia Abbott are the six and seventh parents to be sentenced in the college-admissions scandal after pleading guilty in May to fraud conspiracy. In addition to the prison time, the Abbotts must serve one year of supervised release, perform 250 hours of community service, and pay $45,000 in fines.
The Abbotts admitted that in April 2018, they paid the scam’s mastermind Rick Singer $50,000 to have a proctor correct answers on their daughter’s ACT and SAT exams, unbeknownst to her. “They had to trick their own daughter twice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said in court Tuesday. Attorneys for the couple argued Singer preyed on the Abbotts at a time of family crisis, while they were separated and their daughter was suffering from Lyme disease. “I am guilty of trying to spare my children pain, our daughter has looked pain in the face,” Gregory Abbott said in court Tuesday.
The couple’s son Malcolm, an aspiring rapper, also defended his parents after their arrest—while smoking a blunt outside their Manhattan apartment. “They’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion,” Malcolm Abbott, who raps under the name “Billa,” told the New York Post in March. “I believe everyone has a right to go to college, man.”