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March 26, 2019

Son of marketing CEO ‘sorry’ after mom accused of paying $50,000 to help get him into elite college

March 17, 2019
Jack Buckingham (left), son of marketing exec Jane Buckingham (right), has apologized for being involved in the recent college scandal. Lilia Buckingham (center) was also allegedly involved. (Getty Images)

He’s sorry he took someone else’s spot in college.

Prosecutors believe Jack Buckingham had no idea his mother arranged for a test taker to impersonate him so he could get a higher ACT grade — and then make it into an elite school.

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Buckingham has now come forward and apologized.

“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,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

The student’s mother, Jane Buckingham, is a Los Angeles book author and the founder and CEO of Trendera, a boutique marketing agency. She’s one of 50 people charged this week with paying massive bribes to get their children into college.

“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,” the teen said in the statement.

“For that I am sorry though I know my word does not mean much to many people at the moment,” he wrote. “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.”

Authorities said most parents in the case, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, tried to conceal the plan from their children, though there were cases in which children did know about it.

It’s not clear where Jack Buckingham attends college, but his mother is quoted in a summer 2018 wiretapped phone call asking accused mastermind William Rick Singer to help him get into the University of Southern California, court records show.

“Yeah. I know this is craziness, I know it is,” she reportedly said. “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.”

Prosecutors said Jane Buckingham eventually made a $50,000 “charitable donation” to Singer so he would arrange for someone to take an ACT exam on behalf of her son. The person took the test in a Houston hotel room, court filings show.

Jane Buckingham even asked for a copy of the test for her son, who had developed tonsillitis, to take it at home “so that he would believe he had taken the test,” prosecutors said.

The woman also sent Singer a sample of her son’s handwriting so the test taker could mimic it, authorities said.

Her daughter, Lilia Buckingham, has tweeted several times since the arrests were announced Tuesday.

“hello beautiful people. thank u for your support. i love u all,” she wrote Wednesday.

Prosecutors say they have audio of her mother speaking with Singer in October about possibly doing the same thing for her because she is “not a great test taker,” according to the complaint.

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