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Fort Worth investor in Silicon Valley implicated in college admissions bribery scheme

A founder and managing partner of TPG Growth has been implicated in a massive university admissions scandal that became public on Tuesday.

Bill McGlashan, along with more than 40 other people, including University of Texas tennis coach Michael Center, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are also charged in the scheme, according to the charging documents.

TPG Growth, whose headquarters are now in San Francisco, was founded in Fort Worth.

According to to the technology news website Recode, McGlashan is known as one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent private equity investors and a leader in how to invest ethically.

Since moving to California, McGlashan has apparently been a leading voice for social responsibility, Recode reported.

McGlashan is accused of participating in both the college entrance exam cheating scheme and the college recruitment scheme, including to conspire to bribe a senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern California to get his son’s admission to USC as a recruited athlete.

McGlashan agreed to make a $50,000 donation to a company in California through a third-party person. That person, who isn’t named in the charging documents, would make sure that McGlashan’s son took the ACT test in a “controlled” center and that someone would correct his son’s answers after the test was completed, the documents say.

In November 2017, McGlashan sent the third-party person an email requesting that his son’s test be taken in the West Hollywood Test Center instead of his own high school in Marin County, California. Three days before his son’s Dec. 6, 2017 test, McGlashan made a $50,000 donation.

The proctor for the exam flew to California from Tampa, Florida, specifically to proctor for McGlashan’s son and to correct answers that were wrong, according to the document.

Records obtained by federal investigators found that McGlashan’s son was shown to have taken the exam in Los Angeles on Dec. 10, 2017, but cellphone records for his son show that he was hundreds of miles away in Marin County at that time.

Then, on July 30, 2018, call records show that McGlashan discussed repeating the ACT cheating scheme for his two younger children, according to the documents.

The witness who McGlashan spoke with regarding the scheme later explained to McGlashan that they would need to create a “fake athletic profile” for McGlashan’s older son, which the witness said he had done “a million times” for other families, the document says. The witness isn’t named.

“I’ll pick a sport and we’ll do a picture of him, or he can, we’ll put his face on the picture whatever,” the witness told McGlashan. “Just so that he plays whatever. I’ve already done that a million times.”

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

The witness told McGlashan that USC doesn’t have a lacrosse team, so they’d have to pick a different sport. McGlashan said he was worried about his son getting letters from the athletics program. The witness told him that he wouldn’t and that he would just have to attend the regular orientation.

A fake athletic profile using Photoshop was then created for McGlashan’s son, making it look like he was a football player, according to the document. The witness told McGlashan that if they could get his son accepted to USC as a fake kicker or punter, his odds of admission would jump to 90 percent.

A conversation between McGlashan and another parent at his son’s high school showed that McGlashan’s son didn’t know about the scheme, the document says.

The scheme also involved fudging student’s ACT tests, including parents paying for someone else to take the exam for their children, or others sending their children to a testing center in Houston to take the exam over a two-day period instead of one.

One mother in California asked the Houston center for a copy of the exam so her son could take it at home, so that he would believe he had taken the test, while someone else actually took the test on his behalf in Houston.

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