Parent sentenced for fraud and bribery in college admissions case


Date: August 11, 2022


BOSTON — A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with using fraud and bribery to facilitate his child's acceptance to Georgetown University.

Robert Repella, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to one year of probation, with the first 25 days spent in home detention, 220 hours of community service and a fine of $220,000. In May 2020, Repella pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Repella agreed to pay Gordon Ernst, the head Georgetown tennis coach at the time, more than $120,000 directly, in exchange for purporting to recruit his daughter to the Georgetown tennis team. Repella was not involved in the college admissions conspiracy led by William "Rick" Singer, which also involved Ernst.

Repella first met with Ernst in August 2017 and agreed to pay Ernst to use one of his six yearly recruitment slots for Repella's daughter, even though her abilities were not at the level of a typical Georgetown recruit. During an arranged Georgetown campus visit for Repella's daughter, Repella handed Ernst a check in the amount of $25,000. Repella made a second payment of $25,000 to Ernst slightly more than two weeks later. After Ernst designated Repella's daughter as one of his tennis recruits, Repella made additional payments to Ernst, or for his benefit, through August 2018, including tuition payments to Ernst's daughters' private high school.

Ernst previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $3,435,053.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations in Boston; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Terry Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General Eastern Regional Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen E. Frank, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney and Ian Stearns of Rollins' Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.