Winemaker, Beverage Exec Charged In College Admissions Fraud Scandal

Posted: Mar 14, 2019

Plus, the history of “government cheese,” and other news to start the day

A former casino exec and frozen burrito magnate also face charges
The food and beverage world was not spared in news of a college admissions scam that broke yesterday, most famously involving actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin. The widely reported scam was elaborate and multi-pronged, with the parents of college applicants paying up to millions of dollars for fake athletics credentials or unfair advantages on standardized tests in order to gain admission to top schools.

Among the rich people who allegedly partook were Agustin Huneeus Jr., the son of famed Napa Valley winemaker Agustin Huneeus — Huneeus Jr., who is involved with the family business, is accused of paying a prep school to help his daughter cheat on the SAT, and bribing a university administrator to get her onto a water polo team.

A New York beverage packaging magnate, Gregory Abbott, is also charged with mail fraud-related offenses for allegedly paying over $100,000 to help improve his daughter’s SAT and ACT scores.
One-time MGM Resorts exec Gamal Abdelaziz, the founder of Kentucky bourbon distillery Preservation Marci Palatella, and the Bay Area-based founder of frozen burrito company PJ’s Organics, Peter Jan Sartorio, are also facing charges.

By Tim Forster
March 13, 2019
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