Montgomery County parent charged in college admissions case, agrees to guilty plea

Georgetown University

Georgetown University's campus in Washington (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

A Montgomery County man pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribing Georgetown University’s former tennis coach $50,000 to get his daughter admitted as a fake athletic recruit.

Robert Repella, 61, of Ambler, Pennsylvania, entered a plea to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 10 months in prison and a $40,000 fine. In a statement, Repella said he sincerely regrets his actions.

“My family, and most importantly, my daughter, knew nothing about this,” he said. “A Georgetown University review determined that the academic and athletic qualifications my daughter submitted in her application were factual and truthful, and she remains a student in good standing at Georgetown.”

Repella is the 55th person to be charged in the college admissions bribery scandal, but prosecutors say he was not involved with William “Rick” Singer, the alleged mastermind behind the sweeping nationwide scheme.

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Charging documents released Tuesday allege that Repella paid Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst $50,000 in 2017 to get his daughter admitted as an athlete. Ernst listed Repella’s daughter as one of his recruits, prosecutors say, and she was admitted in 2018. She went on to compete on the women’s tennis team during her freshman year, according to the university’s website.

Ernst, who is accused of taking $2.7 million in bribes, has pleaded not guilty. He left Georgetown in 2017 after an internal investigation found he violated university admissions rules. He was later hired at the University of Rhode Island but resigned last year.

A Georgetown University spokeswoman declined to comment on the case.

Repella is the 26th parent to plead guilty in the case. Others include “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who agreed to plead guilty last week. A judge has yet to decide whether he’ll accept deals they made with prosecutors.

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This story has been corrected to show that prosecutors are recommending a sentence of up to 10 months in prison, not 10 years.

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