Saturday, January 23, 2021

Former University of Pennsylvania athlete and coach sentenced for taking bribes

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A former University of Pennsylvania basketball coach was sentenced to probation for accepting $300,000 in bribes to help the son of a Florida businessman get into the Ivy League school by passing him off as an elite athlete.

Jerome Allen, now an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, got four years’ probation and was ordered to pay a $202,000 fine and forfeit another $18,000.

Allen, 47, got the lenient sentence Monday from a federal judge in Miami because he testified for the government against health care executive Philip Esformes in a $1 billion Medicare fraud prosecution. Esformes was convicted in April.

Allen, a popular star player at Penn before coaching at his alma mater, testified earlier this year that he helped the businessman’s son, now a 2019 Penn grad, get into the school.

“I got his son into Penn. I got his son into Wharton,” Allen told jurors referring to the business school, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “None of that would have happened without me.”

Allen’s case bore a striking resemblance — but has no known connection — to the Boston-based federal case involving college-admissions graft, known as “Operation Varsity Blues.”

That case netted dozens of defendants who are accused of cheating on tests and bribing coaches at elite schools to falsely pass off applicants as star athletes, thus giving them special consideration for admission.

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