A Beverly Hills marketing consultant and author of self-help books Wednesday became the 11th parent to be sentenced in the college admissions case.
Jane Buckingham, 50, was sentenced to three weeks in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, where the case is being adjudicated.
Buckingham, author of the 2006 parenting book, “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood,” as well as “Modern Girl’s Guide to Life” and “Modern Girl’s Guide to Sticky Situations,” pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Beginning in 2018, Buckingham agreed with William “Rick” Singer and others to pay $50,000 to participate in the college entrance-exam cheating scheme for her son. As part of the scheme, Buckingham made arrangements for her son to take the ACT at a test center in Houston, Texas, which Singer “controlled” through a corrupt test administrator, and for his answers to be corrected by co-conspirator Mark Riddell, who would purport to proctor the exam.
Two days prior to the scheduled exam date, a physician advised Buckingham that her son could not fly to Houston due to a medical condition. Buckingham, in turn, asked Singer if Riddell could simply take the test for her son while she administered a fake exam to him at her home in Los Angeles.
On July 14, 2018, Riddell completed the ACT exam by himself in a Houston hotel room. Three days later, Buckingham made a purported charitable donation of $35,000 to Singer’s sham charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to pay for the fraud, and advised Singer that she intended to have her former husband pay the remaining $15,000.
In October 2018, Buckingham told Singer that she wanted to pursue the scheme again for her daughter. Ultimately, Buckingham was arrested before she had the opportunity to engage in the fraud a second time.
Buckingham was the host of a January event at her Beverly Hills home where New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke, and was also among the co-hosts for a fundraiser in March for Gillibrand’s exploratory committee for her eventual short-lived campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The March event took place three days before she was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.
A total of 52 defendants have been charged with conspiring with Singer and others to bribe SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test-taker to secretly take college entrance exams in place of their children, or to correct the children’s answers after they had taken the exams.
The defendants were initially charged with conspiring to launder the bribes and other payments in furtherance of the fraud by funneling them through Singer’s purported Newport Beach-based charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the United States, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme.