Pacific Palisades Parent Pleads Guilty in Ongoing College Admissions Scandal

According to Sunday’s Washington Post (“Another Parent Is Charged in College Admissions Scandal, Will Admit to Efforts to Get Son into Georgetown”) Pacific Palisades resident Peter Dameris is the 54th person charged in the admissions scandal dubbed “Varsity Blues” and the 25th parent to plead guilty.

Admission consultant William “Rick” Singer aided parents who wanted a “name” college for their high school seniors, telling them he could help them get in via a “side” door. Singer provided help in falsifying admission tests such as the SAT or by creating fake athletic profiles to present to schools.

Peter Dameris

According to the Post, “Beginning in 2015, Peter Dameris, 60, of Pacific Palisades, Calif., conspired with Singer and Georgetown’s tennis coach to get his son into the selective school by presenting him as a tennis recruit even though he did not play tennis competitively, according to prosecutors.

In late September 2015, Dameris’s son was selected for an interview with a Georgetown graduate. Singer told Dameris that it was just a formality, according to prosecutors, but that his son should spend little or no time talking about his experience with competitive rowing, which he actually participated in as a high schooler, during the interview.

“In April 2016, when his son was admitted to Georgetown, Dameris sent $300,000 to Singer’s purported charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, according to prosecutors. Dameris will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according the U.S. attorney in Boston.”

The Post noted that prosecutors are recommending a sentence of time served, 21 months of home confinement, a fine of $95,000 and restitution.

“My client takes full responsibility for his actions,” Richard Crane, an attorney for Dameris, said in an emailed statement to the Washington Post. “He is deeply apologetic to the hard-working student-athletes that may have been affected. He also is deeply remorseful for the pain and embarrassment his actions caused his son and family, who had no knowledge of his actions with the Key World Foundation.”

According to the Georgetown University rowing website, the younger Dameris, now a senior, has been active in a sport that he loves and is listed on the rowing roster. “Dameris rowed at Loyola High School where his squad finished third at the Southwest Regional Championships … Member of the seventh-place crew at Youth Nationals, finishing first in the B final.”

Why did Singer advise the younger Dameris not to speak about rowing? According to the Post, Singer had a connection through Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who has been accused by federal prosecutors of accepting bribes in return for recommending applicants for admission. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston, Ernst is facing charges, but has pleaded not guilty.

Peter Dameris graduated with a degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University and then earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Texas Law School.

He clerked for the Honorable Federal District Judge George Cire of the Southern District of Texas and started his career as a corporate attorney.

In September 2004, Dameris became CEO of On Assignment, Inc. (now operating as ASGN Inc.), a professional staffing firm in Calabasas that places everyone from IT (information technology) consultants to lab assistants. ASGN provides staff to about 15,000 clients across North America and Europe.

Dameris was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012, and was inducted into the Staffing Industry Analysts Hall of Fame last year. In 2018, he received $5,562,745 in total cash compensation plus $8,444,263 in stock.

Dameris resigned as ASGN’s chief executive officer on April 30, 2019, telling investors he was resigning for family reasons related to the health of his son.

On May 24, 2019, ASGN filed a Form 8-K stating that, in fact, “[t]he Company has been informed that Mr. Dameris’ resignation was the subject of negotiations between his counsel and the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts, which has been investigating Mr. Dameris as a target in connection with the college admissions investigation.”

When the truth became known, ASGN’s stock price fell 6%. And on June 24, Dameris was terminated by the ASGN board of directors.

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