Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

Lynnfield’s Varsity Blues dad asks for prison delay

This article was published 1 year(s) and 2 month(s) ago.

John Wilson and his wife, Leslie, arrive at federal court Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Boston. (AP)

LYNNFIELD — John B. Wilson, one of the parents involved in the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal, has asked to delay his 15-month prison sentence until his appeal is heard. 

Wilson stands accused of paying $1 million to get his two daughters into Harvard and Stanford, respectively, as well as paying $220,000 for his son to be admitted as a recruit for water polo at the University of Southern California. Wilson is also accused of wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

In a motion filed in federal court last week, attorneys for Wilson, 62, made multiple arguments regarding the appeal. 

“Mr. Wilson’s appeal presents a host of complex, unresolved questions that could well lead to acquittal, a new trial, or partial reversal resulting in a materially shorter sentence,” said Wilson’s defense team, which is pushing for the defendant to remain free on bail until the appeal is decided.

Wilson has received the longest sentence out of the 60 others charged, as prosecutors used FBI wiretaps to show that the Lynnfield resident was involved in the scheme. 

Some of the FBI wiretaps show Wilson asking Rick Singer, the admissions consultant running the scheme, if there was a two-for-one special for his twins. Wilson also asked Singer which sports would be best for his daughters, with Singer replying he would “make them a sailor or something.” 

Wilson was sentenced to 21 months in prison, ordered to pay $288,546 in fines and restitution, sentenced to serve 400 hours of community service and was given two years of supervised release. 

Defense attorneys argued that Wilson was not involved in the scandal because he had no contact with other parents in Singer’s network. They also argued that the trial judge didn’t include any evidence that was favorable to Wilson.

“The government maintains that Mr. Wilson committed ‘bribery,’ under the honest-services statute by seeking to donate to college athletic programs in purported exchange for his children’s admission,” the motion said. “Yet there is no precedent for treating as a ‘bribe’ a payment to the institution that is the purported victim of the offense.”

More Stories From Lynnfield