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Local dad charged in cheating scandal tells judge he plans to plead guilty

A Menlo Park father told a federal court in Boston Wednesday that he plans to plead guilty to an unspecified charge in a college admissions scam case revealed last month.

Peter Sartorio, 53, disclosed the plan in a filing submitted by his lawyers to U.S. Magistrate M. Page Kelley.

Sartorio had been scheduled for an initial appearance before Kelley Wednesday, but he asked for a postponement until April 30 because he “intends to plead guilty” to a charge to be filed by federal prosecutors. The filing did not say what that charge will be. Sartorio is currently accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

In the original criminal complaint filed by prosecutors on March 12 against 32 parents, Sartorio is accused of paying college consultant William “Rick” Singer $15,000 in cash in exchange for having a Singer associate correct answers on his daughter’s ACT test on June 10, 2017. The daughter had been granted extra time to complete the test and was allowed to take it at a test center in West Hollywood where the cheating allegedly occurred.

Ten other parents charged in the scandal made initial appearances before Kelley today and were allowed to remain free with conditions while awaiting trial, according to Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. Bay Area parents in that group included Elizabeth and Manuel Henriguez of Atherton and Bruce Isackson of Hillsborough.

Actress Lori Loughlin; her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Gianulli; and actress Felicity Huffman, all of Los Angeles, also made initial appearances Wednesday.

Two other parents who have been indicted a grand jury, Gregory and Amy Colburn of Palo Alto, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and honest services fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The Colburns were initially charged in the criminal complaint, but later were charged in an indictment that also includes parent David Sidoo of Vancouver, Canada. The indictment added a money laundering conspiracy charge.

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