Parenting book author gets prison time in college admissions scam
A Los Angeles-based CEO and author who wrote a book about parenting was sentenced to three weeks in prison for agreeing to pay $50,000 to have a proctor take the ACT exam for her son as part of the college admissions scam.
Jane Buckingham, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy fraud, is now the 11th parent to be sentenced in the sprawling scheme to cheat, bribe and lie in an attempt to game the college admissions system. The other 10 parents who have been sentenced, including actress Felicity Huffman, have received punishments ranging from probation to 5 months in prison.
Buckingham is the author of “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood” and the founder of a successful marketing firm, according to prosecutors.
As part of the test-cheating scheme, according to the complaint, Buckingham gave scam mastermind Rick Singer an example of her son’s handwriting so that the proctor, Mark Riddell, could imitate it for the exam. Singer and Riddell have both pleaded guilty.
Buckingham’s son ultimately received a score of 35 out of 36 on the ACT. She then wired $35,000 to a bank account controlled by Singer’s sham charity and informed him that she would seek to have her former spouse pay the remaining $15,000, the complaint states.
Her ex-husband, Marcus Buckingham, has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Buckingham wanted to pursue the cheating scheme a second time for her daughter, according to prosecutors, but “was arrested before she had an opportunity to engage in the fraud a second time.”
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of six months in prison and said she pursued the fraudulent scheme “aggressively.”
In her sentencing memo to the government, Buckingham’s attorneys asked for no prison time with a sentence of probation.
“Ms. Buckingham’s acceptance of responsibility was immediate after her arrest because she already understood that she had committed a crime. Unlike other defendants, she never tried to convince herself that her actions were legitimate,” the attorneys wrote.
“She told her children on the day of her arrest that she would be pleading guilty. She had spent the day in jail, after having lost consciousness upon her arrest, and when she got home her first priority was making sure her children understood that she would be accepting responsibility for her crime,” the attorneys wrote.