Former Hercules Capital CEO to plead guilty to U.S. college admissions scam

FILE PHOTO: Manuel Henriquez, founder and chairman and CEO of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, facing charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme, enters federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BOSTON (Reuters) – A former chief executive of specialty finance lender Hercules Capital Inc has agreed to plead guilty to participating in what authorities say is the largest college admissions scam uncovered in the United States, prosecutors said on Friday.

Federal prosecutors in Boston say Manuel Henriquez engaged in a college entrance exam cheating scheme and conspired to bribe a tennis coach to secure the admission of one of his daughters to Georgetown University as a fake athletic recruit.

He is scheduled to enter his plea in federal court on Monday, the same day that Douglas Hodge, the former chief executive of the investment firm Pimco, is expected to also appear to plead guilty.

Lawyers for Henriquez, Hercules Capital’s founder, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Henriquez is among 52 people charged with participating in a vast scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with a California college admissions consultant to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of their children to top schools.

William “Rick” Singer, the consultant, pleaded guilty in March to charges he facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and helped bribe sports coaches at universities to present his clients’ children as fake athletic recruits.

The 35 parents charged in the investigation include executives and celebrities, such as “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin.

Huffman reported to prison on Tuesday after she admitted to engaging in the college exam cheating scheme and was sentenced to a 14-day term. Loughlin has pleaded not guilty.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Alison Williams and Franklin Paul

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