Gaming executive Gamal Aziz cleared of wrongdoing in ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal

August 15, 2023
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The federal case involved several parents charged with unethical college admissions practices.

The federal case against gaming industry executive Gamal Aziz (also known as Gamal Abdelaziz) has reached a conclusion, according to a local report in the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Aziz had been accused of “paying $300,000 as a bribe to secure his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California as a basketball recruit.”

The national scandal, known as “Operation Varsity Blues” involved several parents of prospective college students who were under investigation by the Justice Department regarding “unfair college admissions practices.”

More than 50 guilty pleas followed the investigation, including those by actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In October 2021, both Aziz and private equity executive John Wilson received convictions from the Massachusetts District Court. Sentencing followed four months later. Wilson and Aziz were sentenced to 15 months and 12 months in prison respectively. However, both were able to file appeals and remain free until those were resolved.

Aziz and Wilson filed appeals in Boston through the US Circuit Court of Appeals. The court’s three-judge panel ruled to throw out all of Aziz’s convictions and all of Wilson’s, except for a charge against Wilson for “filing a false tax return.”

Aziz told the Review Journal that he was relieved the case was over and did not regret the decision to file an appeal.

He commented, “It’s completely and utterly over. It was really worth the fight. Normally, these kinds of cases take maybe a year or two years. But because of Covid, it lasted for a longer time.

“There’s never been a single minute when I did not decide to fight for justice and the truth, despite the fact that many others had decided to plead guilty. The great majority of parents did, but I felt that would be a betrayal of justice and my integrity, so I decided to fight it and now I feel I’ve been vindicated.”

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