Marketing exec's son allegedly caught in college admissions scandal says he didn’t know about scam

The son of Jane Buckingham, a marketing executive and parenting book author, said he didn’t know his mother allegedly paid bribes to help him get into college as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme.

Jack Buckingham told the Hollywood Reporter that although he was told not to speak about the incident, he felt the need to release a statement “to get that off my chest.”

"I know there are millions of kids out there both wealthy and less fortunate who grind their ass off just to have a shot at the college of their dreams. I am upset that I was unknowingly involved in a large scheme that helps give kids who may not work as hard as others an advantage over those who truly deserve those spots,” Buckingham said.

Trendera CEO Jane Buckingham allegedly paid $50,000 for a proctor to take the ACT exam for her son.

Trendera CEO Jane Buckingham allegedly paid $50,000 for a proctor to take the ACT exam for her son. (Getty Images)

"For that I am sorry though I know my word does not mean much to many people at the moment. While the situation I am going through is not a pleasant one, I take comfort in the fact that this might help finally cut down on money and wealth being such a heavy factor in college admissions,” he continued. “Instead, I hope colleges may prioritize [looking at] an applicants' character, intellect and other qualities over everything else.”

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Jane Buckingham, who founded the firm Trendera, was one of 50 people charged because of their alleged involvement in William “Rick” Singer’s scheme to help their children get into elite colleges by cheating on the school admissions exams or faking athlete profiles.

Buckingham allegedly paid $50,000 to Singer to have someone take the ACT exam on behalf of his son in July 2018. The marketing exec was initially supposed to fly her son to Houston to take the exam at a testing center, but the plan fell through because Jack had tonsillitis, the complaint stated. Singer then had Mark Riddell, dubbed the “best test-taker,” take the exam on behalf of Buckingham’s son.

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“I know this is craziness, I know it is. And then I need you to get him into USC, and then I need you to cure cancer and [make peace] in the Middle East,” Buckingham told Singer in a phone call.

Buckingham also sent a sample of her son’s handwriting so Riddell would be able to replicate it for the exam, authorities stated.

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Buckingham also allegedly discussed paying Singer to help her daughter, Lilia Buckingham, because she is “not a great test taker,” according to the indictment.