Judge nixes Mexican holiday for executive charged in U.S. college admissions scandal

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday nixed the international family vacation plans of a former senior executive at private equity firm TPG Capital charged in connection with the U.S. college admissions scandal, saying he posed a flight risk.

Bill McGlashan, who prosecutors say was among the wealthy parents who engaged in fraud and bribery schemes to help get their children into colleges, had sought to go ahead with a planned family vacation to Mexico.

Jack Pirozzolo, his lawyer, argued in federal court in Boston that denying his client the ability to leave the country for a trip he planned months ago just because of the charges filed against him on March 12 was "entirely punitive."

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen argued McGlashan should be limited to vacationing domestically, like at his $12 million home in Big Sky, Montana. U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley agreed, concluding that McGlashan posed "some risk of flight."

"I'm sorry to disappoint the family, but I'm not going to allow the vacation," she said.

McGlashan, 55, was among 15 parents who on Friday made their initial court appearances before Kelley, who reviewed their bail conditions and warned them to not discuss the case with co-defendants and potential witnesses, including their children.

Other parents who appeared in court included New York food and beverage distributor Gregory Abbott; Gamal Abdelaziz, the ex-president of Wynn Resorts Ltd's Macau subsidiary; and wealthy media executive Elisabeth Kimmel.

Fifty people, including the actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, have been charged with participating in the scheme, headed by California college admissions counseling service operator Rick Singer.

Prosecutors said Singer helped parents use bribes and cheating to secure admission for their children to universities including Yale, the University of Southern California and Georgetown University.

Some $25 million in bribes were paid to coaches who helped Singer's clients secure spots for their children as fake athletic prospects, prosecutors said.

Singer also facilitated cheating on college entrance exams, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty on March 12 to charges including racketeering conspiracy and is cooperating with investigators.

Prosecutors alleged McGlashan paid Singer's foundation $50,000 to have an associate correct his son's answers on an ACT college entrance exam at a test center Singer "controlled."

McGlashan also conspired to pay $250,000 in order to bribe a USC official and have his son admitted to the school as a fake football recruit, prosecutors said. McGlashan denies the allegations.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Chris Reese, Tom Brown and Leslie Adler)