Nevada gaming executive indicted in college admissions and bribery scandal
Longtime gaming executive Gamal Aziz was one of two Nevadans indicted Tuesday in a far-reaching college admissions and bribery scandal.
Aziz – who was listed in the complaint by his given name Gamal Adbelaziz – was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud as part of the dozens of indictments announced by the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts.
Abdelaziz appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. He was released on a personal recognizance bond and was ordered to appear on March 29 in federal court before Judge M. Page Kelley in Boston.
Aziz left his position as president of Wynn Macau Ltd., in September 2016. He spent three years with Wynn Resorts as the president of Wynn Resorts development, overseeing foreign and domestic expansion opportunities.
Prior to joining Wynn, Aziz spent 13 years with MGM Resorts International, including 13 years as president of MGM Grand Las Vegas and five years as president of MGM Hospitality, where he oversaw the company’s non-gaming international expansion.
According to the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Aziz conspired with a cooperating witness to bribe a senior associate athletic director at USC in order to help his daughter get recruited by the USC basketball team and facilitate her admission to the university.
Aziz is alleged to have paid a $300,000 donation to USC’s gift account for the Galen Center, the arena for USC’s basketball and volleyball programs, and $20,000 per month in payments to the senior associate athletic director.
The cooperating witness obtained “exaggerated and altogether fabricated basketball credentials” from Aziz to create a false profile about his daughter that was presented to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions in October 2017. The subcommittee’s approved her to admittance to USC as a basketball recruit.
Aziz’s daughter enrolled in USC last fall but did not join the basketball team. According to the complaint the cooperating witness and Aziz conspired to say the daughter “had suffered an injury” if anyone were to ask why she wasn’t a member of the basketball team.
Aziz, a native of Egypt, is currently listed as chairman and CEO of Legacy Hospitality Group, according to his LinkedIn page.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among at least 40 people indicted in the racketeering and conspiracy case.
According to the complaint, a cooperating witness told Aziz that his daughter was unlikely to be admitted to USC and similarly ranked universities based on her academic record, but that her prospects would improve dramatically as a recruited athlete.
According to a cooperating witness, although Aziz’s daughter played basketball in high school, she was not sufficiently competitive to be recruited by USC. The cooperating witness advised that Aziz provided information for a falsified basketball “profile”—which included exaggerated and altogether fabricated basketball credentials—to submit to USC on his daughter’s behalf.
Nevada resident Elisabeth Kimmel was also named in the complaint.
The complaint describes Kimmel as a resident of Las Vegas and La Jolla, California, and as the owner and president of a media company, according to an updated Associated Press report.
Update on 3/12/19 at 10:33 a.m.: This story was updated to add details about Kimmel.
Update on 3/12/19 4:38 p.m.: This story was updated with details about Abdelaziz's appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.
Howard Stutz is a freelance gaming reporter for The Nevada Independent and the Executive Editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He has worked as a Nevada journalist for 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected] On Twitter: @howardstutz