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2 Las Vegas parents indicted in college admissions scam

Updated April 9, 2019 - 6:09 pm

The two Las Vegas parents charged in the national college admissions scandal were indicted Tuesday in Boston, and both now face a count of money laundering.

Former Strip casino executive Gamal Aziz — charged as Gamal Abdelaziz, his legal name — and former San Diego media executive Elisabeth Kimmel each are accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to gain their children admission into elite universities.

Aziz and Kimmel were arrested last month, shortly after prosecutors in Massachusetts announced the sprawling case, which named about 50 defendants, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Loughlin also was indicted Tuesday, along with her husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

Both of the Las Vegas parents initially were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The indictment tacked on the fresh money laundering charge.

On Monday, 12 people connected to the sprawling case agreed to plead guilty, including Huffman. Aziz and Kimmel did not, and Aziz does not intend to, according to his Boston attorney, Brian Kelly.

“He’s innocent,” Kelly said, “and he intends to fight this case vigorously.”

Kelly added that the money laundering charge was “nothing new” in his or his client’s eyes.

“We fully expect to be vindicated at the end of this process,” he said.

An attorney for Kimmel could not be reached for comment.

A Nevada judge previously released Aziz on his own recognizance, but a California judge ordered Kimmel to post a $500,000 bond. A Massachusetts judge later allowed Aziz to travel internationally for business, despite the pending case.

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

The new money laundering charge stems from the wired payment and a letter he received in response that indicated “no goods or services were exchanged,” according to the indictment. Nothing in court records indicates that his daughter knew about any arrangements.

Kimmel is accused of paying $275,000 through a family foundation for her daughter’s admission to Georgetown University as a tennis recruit in 2013. She also is accused of paying at least $200,000 through the same foundation for her son’s admission into USC as a track recruit.

Her daughter graduated from Georgetown in 2017 but never played tennis. Her son, who began school in the fall, is not on the track team.

The money laundering charge stems from the family foundation payments and at least one letter she also received in response that indicated “no goods or services were exchanged,” according to the indictment.

Nothing in court records indicates that Kimmel’s son or daughter knew about any arrangements.

Both Kimmel’s son and Aziz’s daughter are still enrolled at USC, but the school has placed holds on their accounts, which means they cannot register for future classes. The school is conducting a review of each student’s case but has not made a decision regarding their enrollment.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelcrosby on Twitter.

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