Former casino exec guilty in Varsity Blues trial

Abdelaziz now faces years in prison in college admission scandal

By JOSH RESNEK

A federal jury deliberated for less than 24 hours before finding former casino executive and Wynn Resorts official

Gamal Abdelaziz guilty of participating in a bribery scheme to have his daughter admitted to a fine school for which she was not qualified.

He chose to stand trial instead of pleading.

It turns out to be a costly decision.

He now faces as much as three years in prison.

Abdelaziz, 64, was accused of paying $300,000 in 2018 to have his daughter admitted to U.S.C. as a top-ranked basketball recruit even though she did not make the varsity team in high school.

The investigation has snared more than 50 parents, coaches, exam administrators and others in an admissions scheme that implicated college athletic programs at the University of Southern California, Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest and Georgetown. Many other wealthy parents, including some celebrities, have pleaded guilty rather than take their chances in court.

Abdelaziz was a frequent visitor to Everett during his time with Wynn Resorts.

He and Mayor Carlo DeMaria shared many conversations and several meetings when Abdelaziz was a point man for the Encore project when Steve Wynn first became interested in the Everett site.

“What they did was an affront to hard-working students and parents,” Nathaniel R. Mendell, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said in a news conference after the verdict. “But the verdict today proves that even these defendants, powerful and privileged people, are not above the law.”

“This is obviously not the result he was looking for, but you know that’s our system and that’s why they have appellate courts, so that’s what we’ll be doing next,” Abdelaziz’ lawyer, Brian Kelly, said outside the courthouse.

Attorney Kelly represents Steve Wynn in Boston.

Since the indictments were announced in March 2019, 47 of the 57 defendants who have been charged have pleaded guilty or have agreed to do so. Thirty-three of those have been parents, including the actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer. Their sentences have ranged up to nine months in prison.

Portions of this article were reported by the New York Times.

Leave a Reply