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Feds say college admissions scam dad has ‘chutzpah,’ lacks remorse — and deserves 13 months in prison

Stephen Semprevivo at Federal Court in Boston in March.
Stephen Semprevivo at Federal Court in Boston in March. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Lambasting him as a defendant devoid of remorse, federal prosecutors on Thursday sought a 13-month prison term for a California man who paid a $400,000 bribe to get his son into Georgetown University as part of the college admissions scam case that has ensnared a host of rich and famous people.

The supplemental sentencing memorandum for Stephen Semprevivo, 53, was filed in US District Court in Boston, where the former Cydcor Inc. executive pleaded guilty in May to a sole count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

He’s slated for sentencing on Sept. 26.

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Shortly after pleading guilty, prosecutors wrote in Thursday’s filing, Semprevivo had the temerity to sue Georgetown to block the university from expelling his son, who had gained admission as a fake tennis recruit.

The lawsuit was quickly dropped, and Semprevivo’s son got ejected from campus. The premise of the suit, prosecutors wrote, was ludicrous.

“Semprevivo has been something less than a model of contrition,” the filing said. “In May 2019 — days after the Court accepted his guilty plea — he sued Georgetown University to enjoin it from expelling his son.”

The civil action, prosecutors wrote, “filed in the name of Semprevivo’s son, characterized Semprevivo’s actions in innocent terms” and “blamed Georgetown for failing to catch the lies in his son’s application and sought damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.”

Prosecutors said the ill-conceived lawsuit “is nothing short of egregious. It meets the classic definition of chutzpah: like the child who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy because he is an orphan, Semprevivo defrauded Georgetown, and then sought to hold Georgetown accountable (with damages) for not discovering his fraud. Semprevivo wants credit for contrition and acceptance of responsibility, but he exhibits neither.”

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And for that, prosecutors maintain, he should spend more than a year in prison.

“Beyond proportional punishment for his actions, Semprevivo’s persistent attempts to evade responsibility and to blame others, and his lack of remorse, highlight the need for specific as well as general deterrence in this case,” the filing said.

In addition to the prison time, prosecutors want Semprevivo to pay roughly $200,000 in fines and restitution and spend a year on supervised release once he’s set free.

In a response filing, lawyers for Semprevivo asked that he be sentenced to a “period of probation with a special condition of community service.”

Semprevivo’s defense team includes David E. Kenner, a powerhouse lawyer who helped rapper Snoop Dogg beat a murder case in 1996, and Steven C. Boozang, a savvy attorney whose client roster has included former New England Mafia don Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme.

The defense filing said Semprevivo was manipulated into participating in the scheme by its admitted mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, who’s admitted to his lead role in the scam and awaits sentencing.

Singer solicited fat checks from parents to get their kids falsely classified as athletic recruits at fancy schools — effectively paving their way to admission as fake jocks — or to pad their SAT scores. Singer concealed the bribes by having them listed as donations to his sham charity.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.