A 58-year-old man in California pleaded guilty on March 12 to federal charges related to racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with the college admissions scandal. The scandal has engulfed a number of wealthy parents, including real estate developers, investors and actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who reportedly paid the man to help ensure that their children were admitted to such colleges as Georgetown University and Yale.
The scheme involved a number of different approaches for making sure that the children were admitted. In some cases, people changed answers on standardized tests the children took or took the tests for them. A soccer coach and a water polo coach were among those paid to designate students as recruits even though they did not play the sport. The man was paid a total of around $25 million. Most of the payments were between $250,000 and $400,000, but they went as high as $6.5 million.
A total of 50 people, including parents and university employees, have been charged in the case. Some charges are related to racketeering while others face charges of mail fraud and wire fraud. Stanford University’s former sailing coach has already pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
Federal crimes such as these can lead to serious consequences. An attorney may be able to assist a person who is facing these types of charges and advise the defendant regarding their options. For example, the two people who have pleaded guilty so far in this case may have believed that there was enough evidence against them that they were likely to be found guilty in a trial. Sometimes, agreeing to a plea bargain instead of going to trial can lead to a lighter sentence.
Source: NPR, “U.S. Charges Dozens Of Parents, Coaches In Massive College Admissions Scandal,” Bill Chappell and Merrit Kennedy, 3/12/2019