Ex-Casino Exec Gets 13 Months in Varsity Blues Case

Home » Ex-Casino Exec Gets 13 Months in Varsity Blues Case

Posted on: February 10, 2022, 05:29h. 

Last updated on: February 10, 2022, 05:29h.

Former Wynn and MGM executive Gamal Abdelaziz has been sentenced to one year and one month’s imprisonment for his role in the 2019 college admissions scandal. He was convicted of fraud and bribery conspiracy by a jury in Boston in October.

Gamal Abdelaziz
Gamal Abdelaziz arrives at a federal courtroom in Boston prior to sentencing. Prosecutors said he deserved the harshest sentence of 33 parents charged in the case. (Image: Reuters)

Abdelaziz’s is the longest sentence among more than 50 people, including 33 parents, charged in a sprawling federal prosecution, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.

Abdelaziz, 64, paid $300,000 to corrupt admissions consultant William Singer to get his daughter into the University of Southern California as a basketball recruit. She had only made the junior varsity team at high school, hadn’t played for a year, and didn’t join the basketball team when she got to USC.

Longest Sentence Yet

Prosecutors demanded a stiffer sentence for Abdelaziz than other parents embroiled in the case. That’s because he was actively involved, with Singer, in producing fraudulent documents to aid his daughter’s application, including a phony athletics profile.

They also said he had lied repeatedly to investigators in an attempt to cover his back, and to this day continues to insist that the FBI “framed” him and that the charges were a “set up.” Abdelaziz was one of just two parents to plead not guilty.

As part of his sentence, he must also serve two years of supervised release, complete 400 hours of community service, and pay a $250,000 fine.

Other parents involved in the case have received sentences ranging from home confinement to nine months in prison. Full House actor Lori Loughlin served two months and was released in 2020. Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman served 11 days.

Glittering Resumé

Egyptian-born Abdelaziz was a senior executive at Caesars Palace in the 1990s. Next, he joined Wynn Resorts to help launch the Bellagio in 1998.

In 2001, he became president and COO of the MGM Grand, and later president and COO of MGM Resorts International. He rejoined Wynn Resorts in 2013 as CEO of Wynn Resorts Development, and then became head of the Wynn Macau.

He left the casino business in 2016 to join the Legacy Hospitality Group as chairman and CEO.

Singer ran a business called The Key that mingled legitimate services with a fraudulent admissions racket. He has admitted bribing coaches and administrators at elite universities to nominate the unqualified children of wealthy parents as athletes. He has been cooperating with the FBI since 2018.

Abdelaziz’s lawyers argued that their client was one of Singer’s victims who was unaware his $300,000 “donation” would be used for bribery. The jury rejected that argument.

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