Developer with Scottsdale office pleads guilty in college scandal

Apr 9, 2019, 9:01 AM | Updated: 3:34 pm
Robert Flaxman (L) and artist Kadir Lopez attend Kadir Lopez's Art Show on August 12, 2016 in West ...
Robert Flaxman (L) and artist Kadir Lopez attend Kadir Lopez's Art Show on August 12, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Getty Images/ Matt Winkelmeyer)
(Getty Images/ Matt Winkelmeyer)

PHOENIX – A developer with projects in the Phoenix area and 12 other parents, including celebrities, pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and fraud Monday in a college admissions scandal.

Robert Flaxman, whose Crown Realty and Development was responsible for the Montelucia Resort in Scottsdale, among many Valley ventures, entered the plea along with award-winning actress Felicity Huffman, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Another popular actress, Lori Loughlin, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were also among the 50 arrested last month. They were not listed in a Department of Justice release of plea deals.

Flaxman, 62, was accused by the federal government of paying $350,000 so his son would be admitted to the University of San Diego and his daughter would score better on a college entrance exam.

He thanked his supporters and expressed regret in a statement distributed Tuesday by his company.

“I deeply regret the mistakes that I have made. They are my own, and I take full responsibility for my actions,” the statement said.

“I am very pleased to have reached an agreement regarding the resolution of my case with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

A company press release said Flaxman’s legal issues wouldn’t impede its plans to develop 96.5 acres recently acquired in the Desert Ridge area of north Phoenix.

“Robert has been integral to the company’s substantial success, but we also have many others,” Rick Carpinelli, who leads Crown’s Arizona operations, said in the release. “He has issued a statement on his matter, and justice will now run its course.

“Meanwhile, we will be hard at work delivering a terrific new mix of uses for our neighbors, the city of Phoenix and state of Arizona.”

Court documents showed federal prosecutors recommended a prison sentence for Flaxman at the lower end of guidelines and a fine of $40,000.

The California-based Flaxman, whose company has an office in Scottsdale, faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and a mandatory special assessment.

Flaxman Plea Agreement 0 by on Scribd

Authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department.

The wealthy parents all had agreed to pay William “Rick” Singer various amounts of money to ensure he got their children admitted to the high-profile universities and colleges of their choice.

The conspiracy included bribing entrance-exam administrators and coaches. The coaches agreed to pretend they had recruited the sons and daughters for their teams, when in fact, the teens did not participate in said sports.

Singer’s son had applied to attend the University of San Diego, a private school. He was admitted.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(ADOT Photo)...
Associated Press

1 person dead in wrong-way crash involving 4 vehicles in Phoenix

A wrong-way collision on a Phoenix freeway early Saturday involved four vehicles and killed the wrong-way driver..
14 hours ago
(Airbnb photo)...
Tom Kuebel

Airbnb names Phoenix family as top new hosts in Arizona

Owners of a Charming Coronado Casita with 123 ratings in its first year were named as the top new Airbnb hosts in Arizona.
14 hours ago
FILE - A dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Lurie Children's hospital, Nov. 5, 2021, ...

Arizona reports 3,655 new COVID-19 cases, 47 deaths on Saturday

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 3,655 new COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths.
14 hours ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

In need of Gmail storage space cleanup tips? Here are a few to get you started

If you haven’t done much in the past to keep the clutter from building up in your Gmail account, there are a number of places where you can free up valuable storage space.
14 hours ago
(Gilbert Police Department photo)...

Gilbert Police Department hoping for leads in 1991 missing persons cold case

It's been more than 30 years since the disappearance of 23-ear-old Gilbert resident Lisa Jameson, and police are still hoping for tips that may lead to solving the case.
14 hours ago
(Facebook Photo)...

ASU police wellness check turns into interstate effort to help lost elderly couple

Arizona State University police officers last weekend performed a wellness check that became an interstate effort to help a couple who authorities say were confused about where they were.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Developer with Scottsdale office pleads guilty in college scandal