LA real estate developer Robert Flaxman, 66, was found lifeless hanging in his Malibu home last week after his friends requested a welfare check
Flaxman’s suicide happened three years after being jailed for one month for paying $325,000 to college admissions scam to get his son and daughter into school
Flaxman, owner and CEO of billion dollar real estate firm Crown Realty & Development Inc., pled guilty to fraud and conspiracy over admissions scandal
He had his daughter’s ACT exam corrected by a proctor to inflate her score
Prominent Los Angeles real estate developer Robert Flaxman is dead. The death of Flaxman, 66, who was charged in the college admissions scandal alongside other celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin last year, has been ruled suicide.
It was discovered that he killed himself last week after his friends requested a welfare check and the real estate was found hanging lifeless in his Malibu home.
Authorities told TMZ that while no note was found, but Flaxman had a history of depression and coroners marked the case as closed.
Flaxman was among 53 people charged with paying Rick Singer, the mastermind of the college admission payola scheme, to get their kids into prestigious schools.
The 2019 indictment against him charged him with first paying $250,000 to get his son into the University of San Diego in 2016, and then paying an additional $75,000 to increase his daughter’s ACT scores.
She was admitted to the University of San Francisco and graduated this year.
After a plea agreement Flaxman ultimately admitted guilty to just the charge involving his daughter and spent a month in prison.
Flaxman admitted to conspiring with William ‘Rick’ Singer to have his daughter’s ACT exam corrected by a proctor, thereby fraudulently inflating the score, The LATimes reported.
He did so by first taking steps to secure extended time for his daughter to take the ACT.
That was followed by a petition to move the exam to a test center in Houston, Texas, that Singer ‘controlled’ through one of his proctors.
Flaxman’s daughter and the child of another client of Singer both took the ACT with the assistance of a co-conspirator.
Harvard alumnus Mark Riddell assisted in answering exam questions and instructed the students to answer different questions incorrectly so that the ACT would not suspect cheating.
Flaxman’s daughter used the score to apply to several schools and ultimately enrolled at one of them, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors had recommended a sentence of eight months in prison, one year of supervised release and a $40,000 fine.
They did not identify where she goes to college but said the school suspended her for a semester when the scheme was uncovered.
In earlier court documents, the FBI also accused Flaxman of paying an admissions consultant $250,000 to fabricate application documents that were used to get his son into the University of San Diego.
Those allegations were not pursued, however, and they weren’t included in Flaxman’s plea agreement with prosecutors.
Flaxman’s lawyers say he agreed to the testing scheme because his daughter’s test scores were too low to get into college.
He wasn’t trying to get her into an elite or exclusive school, they said, and he wasn’t chasing social status ‘ego gratification.’
Prosecutors said he deserved prison time, nonetheless, because his daughter ended up getting involved in the scheme, and because Flaxman sought a tax deduction for the $75,000 bribe, which was funneled through a sham charity.
Flaxman was the owner and CEO of Crown Realty & Development Inc., a real estate firm that operates and develops commercial property in California, Arizona, North Carolina and elsewhere. Its website says it manages nearly $1 billion in property.
In 2021 Crown Realty & Development sold two Beverly Hills mansions for a combined total of $26million, $12million less than the initial listing.
More than 50 people have been charged in the scheme, which involves wealthy and famous parents accused of paying bribes to rig their children’s test scores or to get them admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes.
Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, 59, served 11 days of a 14-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to falsify daughter Sophia’s SAT scores.
Huffman admitted to paying admissions officer William Singer via his nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation. The money went to a proctor to correct wrong answers on Sophia’s SATs. Authorities said the nonprofit was set up as a front to accept bribes.
In addition to jail time, Huffman also received 250 hours of community service, a $30,000 fine and a year of probation.
The Emmy-award winning actress tearfully confessed at her sentencing: ‘I was frightened. I was stupid, and I was so wrong.
‘I broke the rule. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions.
‘I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I’m needed.’
She said she ‘betrayed’ her then-18-year-old daughter Sophia who was not aware of her plan.
‘This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty,’ she said.
In a letter seeking leniency from the court, the actress said she engaged in the scheme after her daughter’s dreams of going to college and pursuing an acting career were jeopardized by her low math score.
Sophia was kept in the dark about her mother’s actions and confronted her after news of the FBI’s sweeping Operation ‘Varsity Blues’ broke, saying, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me?’ Felicity wrote in her letter.
Federal authorities said that through her mother’s scheming, Sophia got a bump of 400 points from her earlier score on the PSAT, a practice version of the SAT.
Another actress, Full House star Lori Loughlin pled guilty to paying $500,000 to get her two daughters enrolled into University of Southern California in 2019.
After receiving half a million dollars from Loughlin and her husband, Singer arranged to get her daughters Isabella Rose, 23, and Olivia Jade, 22, onto the school’s rowing team, despite neither having a background in the sport.
After Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, 59, pled guilty in connection with conspiracy charges in the college admission bribery case, in May 2020, Loughlin served her two-month jail and paid a fine of $150,000, along with 150 hours of community service following the guilty plea.
Her husband was handed a five-month sentence with a fine of $250,000 and 250 hours of community service. Giannulli was transferred to home confinement in April of 2021, about a month before his sentence ended.