2 months in prison for dad who paid $40K in ACT cheat scheme

Massachusetts

FILE – This July 13, 2003, file photo shows Mark Hauser at his home in the Indian Hill suburb of Cincinnati. Hauser, a founder of a private equity firm who paid $40,000 to have someone secretly correct his daughter’s ACT exam answers, was sentenced Thursday, Ma 27, 2021, to two months in prison for his role in the college admissions bribery scheme. (Craig Ruttle/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

BOSTON (USDOJ) – A California insurance and private equity executive was sentenced Thursday in connection with using fraud and bribery to cheat on the ACT exam on behalf of his daughter.

Mark Hauser, 60, of Los Angeles, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to two months in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and 300 hours of community service. In September 2020, Hauser pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Hauser agreed with William “Rick” Singer to pay an amount, ultimately totaling $40,000, to facilitate cheating on his daughter’s ACT exam. As part of the scheme, co-conspirator Mark Riddell traveled to Houston, Texas, where Hauser’s daughter took the exam and purported to proctor the test. Instead, Riddell corrected the answers on the exam after she completed it. Two days later, Singer paid an intermediary, Martin Fox, $25,000, with the understanding that Fox would pass part of the payment on to Niki Williams, the test site administrator who allowed the cheating to occur. Singer also paid Riddell $10,000 for his role in the scheme.

Singer and Riddell have previously pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government’s investigation. In November 2020, Fox was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to three months in prison and in December 2020 Williams was sentenced by Judge Talwani to one year of probation.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Mark Deckett, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney, Stephen E. Frank and Karin M. Bell of Mendell’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

The details contained in the court documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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