Greenwich Tennis Competitor’s dad Gordon Caplan arrested in Operation Varsity Blues

UPDATE: 10.3.19 – Gordon Caplan was sentenced to one month in jail and agreed to a suspension of his law license while the NY Bar investigates. Federal prosecutors had asked the judge for eight month of jail time.

UPDATE 4.5.19: Gordon Caplan is the first parent to admit guilt. His attorney circulated this statement today: “My immediate goal is to focus on making amends for my actions to try to win back the trust and respect of my daughter, my family, and my community,” Caplan said in a statement Friday. “The remorse and shame that I feel is more than I can convey.” Caplan also said his daughter Rachel, who is a junior in High School, had not applied to college yet. His white-shoe law firm Willki Farr said they have finally removed him as a partner. If Caplan’s plea remains a felony charge he will not be able to keep his law license.

Original Text
The Co-Chairman of a white-shoe law firm, Gordon R. Caplan, has been charged with a felony for making payments to help his daughter cheat on a college entrance exam. Caplan, a seasoned dealmaker for private equity firms was removed from his duties at Willki Farr Gallagher LLP today. It’s unclear if he is still getting paid but the law firm went right to work scrubbing his bio off their website. He was released on a personal signature $500,000 bond and given strict travel conditions.

Gordon, age 53, lives in uber-wealthy Greenwich, Conn. with his 49-year old wife Amy Elizabeth Caplan who grew up with family money in Greenwich and is a member of the Treibick family. Amy attended an exclusive private school called Greenwich Academy.

The Boston office of the FBI obtained wiretaps and recorded both Gordon and Amy speaking with the man who orchestrated the college entrance admission bribe scheme. That man is William Rick Singer who has already plead guilty and worked with the FBI to record parents involved in the scheme. Wiretaps show Amy saying she ‘wasn’t ok’ with the idea of payments made to a proctor of the ACT exams to manipulate the score of her daughters test. Yet the family moved forward with the plan and flew their daughter out to Southern California to take the exam at a testing center where people were placed to help rig it. Gordon eventually asked Singer to stop adding his wife to emails about the scheme and the DOJ says it was Gordon who made the illicit payment.

The complaint says the daughter was enrolled in an online high school. Research shows that daughter is Rachel Treibick Caplan. Rachel has been working on gaining recognition on the juniors national tennis circuit and plays in tournaments around the US.

Rachel Treibick Caplan

Gordon Caplan daughter. Operation Varsity Blues.

It’s unclear how much the daughter knew but their appears to be some culpability. The government said that the daughter went to see a doctor and was told to ‘play stupid’ so that she could get the doctor to claim a disability. The disability would allow her more time to take the exam. Caplan ended up paying Singer’s non-profit $75,000 to execute the cheating scheme; a payment that was conveniently set up to be tax deductible.

Gordon Caplan was taped asking William Singer if anyone had ever been caught in the scheme. Singer’s response was basically only if you tell someone and Gordon responded “his daughter wouldn’t talk”. Rachel took the test this winter and the complaint says her score was 10 points higher. Gordon alluded to thoughts of his daughter going to his college, Cornell, on the wiretaps but the complaint didn’t say if Rachel had used the fraudulent scores to apply to college yet. The DOJ decided not to charge any of the students tied to 33 parents arrested in the scheme even though they said some of the teens knew of the cheating scheme. Gordon’s wife Amy was also not charged.

Gordon was caught on tape saying “he didn’t care about the moral ethics” of the scheme. But did express concerns about his daughter being caught because “she’d be finished” if she was.

With an ethics statement like that Willkie Farr is likely already starting an internal investigation into Gordon Caplan’s work with the law firm’s clients. It’s the firm duty to report his actions to the state bar association with the idea that if you cheat once what else did you cheat at.

A phone call made to the Caplan’s Greenwich home went to voicemail and the voicemail was full. Caplan’s attorney did not return a request for comment.

Gordon was arrested around 6 am on Tuesday March 12 and had to spend some time in a holding cell in downtown New York. Two addresses were listed on his warrant. A $5.3 million mansion on 20 Brywood Lane in Greenwich Conn. and a classic-6 with park views at 25 Central Park West apt 7N, NYC, NY. He was processed and released late in the afternoon and wouldn’t comment to reporters waiting outside the courthouse.

Caplan has retained white collar criminal defense lawyer Patrick Smith who is a sole practitioner. In an odd move he also retained Peter S. Cane who practices civil litigation and is know as a ‘media lawyer’. Wire fraud faces up to five years in jail. Being found guilty of a felony is grounds for disbarment. Caplan is scheduled to appear next in Federal Court in Boston on April 3.

Gordon Caplan with attorneys Patrick Smith & Peter Cane (right)

Readers of this publication are familiar with the attorney Gordon picked Peter S. Cane who takes on some questionable clients. Cane just lost a case trying to bully and intimidate a journalist into revealing a confidential source for hedge fund manager Bruce Bernstein. Cane also lost the chance for his client to keep his divorce records sealed when a judge ordered the unsealing of the case. The divorce docs allegedly show Bernstein committed securities fraud. The journalist Cane sued was me.

EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated. Amy attended Greenwich Academy not Brunswick. They are related schools in Greenwich.

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  1. This week, the whole world learned the truth about Gordon Caplan’s character – or lack thereof. I have known this for 17 years. He leaves a legacy of shame, arrogance and unethical behavior, and a bad name for his children. He failed his family, he failed parenting, and he failed society. Isn’t Karma a bitch?

    • Caplan with a C says

      1010WINS sure brightened my day upon waking up to the news of such an awful human being’s karmic descent. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. You can be sure that 100s of NYC law professionals went to work with a smile on their face that morning . Shame shame on Willke Farr for allowing him to bully and step on so many hard working intelligent & dedicated people for so many years. Unlike his prior firms that sent him away, buh bye, regardless of his earning capacity. I do feel a bit sorry for his wife who 1) made the mistake of marrying him & 2) stayed with him all these years.

  2. The mystery is how someone so dumb as Gordon Caplan was able to get into Cornell. The answer appears to rest on his choice of law schools. He must have been a legacy at Cornell and did poorly. He was relegated to Fordham Law School as a result. One of the funniest things I’ve ever read was the dialogue between Caplan and Singer when Singer explained that people in “the academy” were used to students needing more time due to a learning disability. “The academy?” LOL. Do you mean the tennis academy? Greenwich academy. Gosh had to peel myself off the floor due to laughing so hard. I assume the only possible way Caplan got to Cornell was as legacy or development admit. But his intellectual limitations sure explain his daughter’s.

  3. I am a Cornell grad from a lower middle class family and I worked my butt off in high school. I got in all on my own merits and met these kind of people like Caplan there. They later become the frat boys of life. It’s a cliche and disgusting. I have an 11 year old daughter I would love to go to Cornell on her own merits, not because she is a legacy (and I am a teacher so have no money to contribute). But what’s worse is i have a 13 year old autistic boy with a true disability who could never go to a school like Cornell. It disgusts me that Caplan and his wife and that whole Biff and Buffy set use disability to get their precious offspring into places they don’t deserve. I met many great people at Cornell and it became a great part of my moral core. I hope his daughter is so disgusted my her parents that she gives all her money to charity and starts a foundation. One can dream.

  4. What I found appalling is that the former lawyer Gordon Caplan “Dealmaker of 2018″ said :“To be honest, I’m not worried about the moral issue here,” and then asked” Is that Kosher? Can we do that ? As if as a Jewish person, as a US citizen let alone as a lawyer he did not know that cheating to get his daughter Rachel Caplan admitted at an Elite college on false grounds was illegal,morally wrong and of course not “Kosher” at all.

  5. Shame on Rachel, too. She behaved badly and had to know what her dad was up to. Bad all around. Is this my country?

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