A couple arrested this month for paying bribes to get their son into an elite college were indicted in Boston, becoming the second and third parents to be accused by a federal grand jury in a wide-ranging admissions scandal.

Gregory and Amy Colburn allegedly conspired to commit wire fraud and launder money by paying college admissions counselor William Rick Singer, the plot’s ringleader, to have a proctor correct their son’s answers on the SAT college entrance exam. One other parent, David Sidoo, was previously indicted for paying $100,000 for a surrogate to take his son’s test. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Colburns and Sidoo are among 33 parents charged in the scandal. The scam came to light March 12, when the U.S. attorney in Boston announced the case. Singer has pleaded guilty and has cooperated with prosecutors.

Calls and emails to the Colburns’ attorney David Schumacher weren’t immediately returned.

The indictment signals that prosecutors are taking a hard line with at least some of the parents by charging them with felonies that carry significant prison time. While parents may seek plea deals for misdemeanors that would keep them out of jail, it’s unclear whether the government will strike such deals with most, if any, of the parents. Some parents may seek to clear their names in a trial.

The U.S. says wealthy parents -- including celebrities, a top mergers attorney and a venture-capital CEO -- paid Singer to get their kids into schools including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, Wake Forest and the University of Southern California. He used the funds they gave him to pay off surrogate test takers and to bribe college coaches to designate applicants as athletic recruits, according to the charges.

The parents paid a total of $25 million from 2011 to 2018, the government claims, for admission to a top university and the lifelong advantages that can flow from it. Singer claimed he engineered almost 800 bribes to coaches.

While the bribes to coaches were typically in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, other payoffs were more modest. Prosecutors claim that the Colburns, of Palo Alto, California, paid $25,000 in cash and stock for an accomplice of Singer, Mark Riddell, to correct their son’s answers at a West Hollywood testing center. Singer secretly recorded a conversation with the couple last fall.

Riddell, who worked in test prep at a private Florida school, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and money laundering.

This article provided by Bloomberg News.

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