Former University of Southern California athletic official pleads guilty to admissions scandal – .

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Former University of Southern California athletic official pleads guilty to admissions scandal – .


A former senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern California is expected to plead guilty on Friday to participating in a massive fraud and bribery scheme aimed at allowing children of wealthy parents to be admitted to colleges as bogus recruits sports.
Donna Heinel was due to face a federal jury in Boston later this month in the second trial stemming from the U.S. college admissions scandal. Instead, she will plead guilty to honest services wire fraud, prosecutors said Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged that she accepted bribes from the California college admissions consultant who orchestrated the program, William “Rick” Singer, in exchange for naming her clients’ children as athletic recruits.

His plea deal came after two fathers, former casino manager Gamal Aziz and private equity firm founder John Wilson, were found guilty in the first trial in the attempted buy scandal. their children’s path to USC.

As part of his plea deal, Heinel agreed not to appeal a jail term of 46 months or less and lose US $ 160,000. A federal judge has scheduled a plea hearing for Friday.

Her lawyer, Nina Marino, said she “did the honorable thing”.

Vancouver businessman David Sidoo leaves after his Federal Court hearing on March 15, 2019 in Boston. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe/The Associated Press)

Heinel is one of 57 people indicted in connection with the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, which trapped business executives and celebrities and exposed inequalities in American higher education.

Singer pleaded guilty in 2019 to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and funneling parents’ money to corrupt coaches and college athletic officials to secure their children’s admission as bogus athletes .

Forty-eight people agreed to plead guilty, including Full house actress Lori Loughlin and Desperate housewives la star Felicity Huffman.

Prosecutors said Singer’s clients from 2014 to 2018 made more than US $ 1.3 million in payments to USC accounts designated by Heinel and benefited them professionally.

Canadians involved in scandal

Prosecutors said that as of 2017, she was also paid US $ 20,000 per month under a bogus consulting contract with Singer. In return, Heinel facilitated the admission of more than two dozen students.

The scandal also trapped Canadians. In July 2020, David Sidoo, a Vancouver businessman and philanthropist, was sentenced to three months in prison by a Boston court. Sidoo paid US $ 200,000 for a professional tester to use fake credentials to impersonate his two sons in order to write their Academic Aptitude Tests (SAT).

And Xiaoning Sui, a Surrey resident, was fined $ 250,000 after admitting to paying $ 400,000 to secure her son’s admission to the University of California Los Angeles, through corruption as that alleged football rookie.

His plea deal saved him an additional prison sentence. Sui spent five months in prison in Spain, where she was arrested in September 2019.

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