Former head tennis coach at Georgetown University sentenced to more than two years in prison in college admissions case


Date: July 1, 2022


BOSTON — The former head coach of men and women's tennis at Georgetown University was sentenced today in connection with soliciting and accepting bribes to facilitate the admission of prospective Georgetown applicants and failing to report all of the income from the bribes on his federal income taxes.

Gordon Ernst of Rockville, Md. and Falmouth, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release, with the first six months to be served in home confinement. This is the longest prison term imposed in the college admissions case. Ernst was also ordered to forfeit $3,435,053, including more than $1.3 million in assets that the government seized in March 2019. In October 2021, Ernst pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, three counts of federal programs bribery and one count of filing a false tax return.

Ernst conspired with William "Rick" Singer to solicit and receive bribe payments from the families of prospective Georgetown applicants to facilitate their admission to Georgetown as purported student athletes. Specifically, Ernst regularly used at least two, and often as many as five, of the six recruitment slots Georgetown allotted him each year to recruit unqualified students in exchange for bribe payments. For more than 10 years, Ernst facilitated the admission of at least 22 students – at least 19 of which were Singer's clients – to Georgetown as purported tennis recruits in exchange for a total of nearly $3.5 million in bribe payments. He then failed to report all of the income from those bribe payments on his federal income tax returns.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations in Boston; 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 and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol E. Head, Chief of Rollin's Asset Recovery Unit handled the forfeiture aspects of the case.