Ambler father sentenced to probation as part of the college admissions bribery scandal

An Ambler (Lower Gwynedd) father was sentenced in federal court in Boston on August 11th as part of the nationwide scandal that involved parents bribing college coaches to obtain admission to universities for their children. The scandal involved numerous business executives, plus Academy Award-nominated actress Felicity Huffman, and former Full House star Lori Loughlin.

Locally, 63-year-old Robert Repella pleaded guilty in May of 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to one year of probation, with the first 25 days spent in home detention. In addition, he received 220 hours of community service and a fine of $220,000. In May 2020, Repella pleaded guilty to one

Repella’s case involved him paying Gordon Ernst, the now former head tennis coach at Georgetown University, more than $120,000 directly, in exchange for purporting to recruit his daughter to the Georgetown tennis team. Repella dealt with Ernst directly and was not involved in the larger college admissions conspiracy led by William “Rick” Singer, which also involved the Georgetown coach.

In the sentencing notice issued by the Department of Justice, it details Repella’s actions as follows:

Repella first met with Ernst in August 2017 and agreed to pay Ernst to use one of his six yearly recruitment slots for Repella’s daughter, even though her abilities were not at the level of a typical Georgetown recruit. During an arranged Georgetown campus visit for Repella’s daughter, Repella handed Ernst a check in the amount of $25,000. Repella made a second payment of $25,000 to Ernst slightly more than two weeks later. After Ernst designated Repella’s daughter as one of his tennis recruits, Repella made additional payments to Ernst, or for his benefit, through August 2018, including tuition payments to Ernst’s daughters’ private high school.

Ernst previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $3,435,053.