Financial Titans and Influential Lawyers Charged in College Admissions Scam

Bill McGlashan founding partner of TPG Growth
Steve Jennings/Getty
ALANA MASTRANGELO

Law firm Co-Chair Gordon Caplan, former PIMCO CEO Douglas Hodge, and the Managing Partner of TPG Growth, Bill McGlashan, were charged in a college admissions scam on Tuesday, along with at least 40 other individuals.

Gordon Caplan, Douglas Hodge, and Bill McGlashan have been charged on Tuesday — along with 40 others, including actresses — in a college admissions scam in which wealthy parents bribed coaches and other insiders at testing centers in an effort to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher co-Chair and Hillary Clinton donor, Gordon Caplan, allegedly paid $75,000 to college coaches to have someone else take an admissions exam for his daughter, according to the indictment.

The plan was to have a professional test taker take over for the Clinton donor’s daughter while she took an untimed exam, allowing the professional to obtain the appropriate scores necessary for getting into the college she desired.

The scheme failed once college insiders became cooperating witnesses for government officials.

The former CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), Douglas Hodge, allegedly “agreed to use bribery to facilitate the admission of two of his children to USC as purported athletic recruits” and sought to enlist the support of a cooperating witness to secure college admissions for a third child through bribery as well, according to the criminal complaint.

Bill McGlashan, the managing partner of TPG Growth and CEO of the social impact The Rise Fund — co-founded with U2’s Bono and Jeff Skoll — was also among the many individuals charged in the college admissions scam.

McGlashan’s conversations with a cooperating witness were captured via wiretap, in which the CEO allegedly discussed making a fake athletic profile for his son, so that he could be admitted to the University of Southern California as a recruited athlete.

“I’ll pick a sport and we’ll do a picture of him,” said the cooperating witness to McGlashan in a wiretapped conversation, “We’ll put his face on the picture whatever. Just so that he plays whatever. I’ve already done that a million times.”

“Well, we have images of him in lacrosse. I don’t know if that matters,” responded McGlashan.

“They don’t have a lacrosse team. But as long as I can see him doing something, that would be fine,” said the cooperating witness.

“Hey, Bill — met with [USC], because the [high school your son attends] does not have a football team, I’m gonna make him a kicker/punter and they’re gonna walk him through with football, and I’ll get a picture and figure out how to Photoshop and stuff,” said the cooperating witness to McGlashan later in a voicemail.

“You could inspire him — You may actually turn him into something. I love it,” the complaint alleges McGlashan to his presumed co-conspirator in a conversation after returning the witness’ phone-call, “So — just remind me again, we get all these done and the, the obvious deal you and I talked about, the 50K and the 200K — and then, do we know he’s in?”

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, announcing the $25 million federal bribery case, “For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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