Ex-USC coach, parent to plead guilty in college bribery scam

2 years 3 months 4 days ago Tuesday, April 23 2019 Apr 23, 2019 April 23, 2019 11:11 AM April 23, 2019 in Sports - AP - National

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) - A former University of Southern California soccer coach and a California insurance executive became the latest people to agree to plead guilty in a college admissions cheating scandal that has netted prominent parents and Hollywood stars, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Laura Janke, who was an assistant women's soccer coach at USC, will plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and has agreed to cooperate with authorities, which means she will testify at others' trials if asked, court documents show.

Toby MacFarlane, a former senior executive at a title insurance company who was among 33 parents charged in the case, will also plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, officials said.

Janke and MacFarlane were charged alongside 48 others last month with taking part in the scheme that has embroiled elite universities across the country. Others charged include actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin's fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

The parents are accused of paying admissions consultant Rick Singer to rig standardized test scores and bribe college coaches and other insiders to secure spots for their children at highly selective schools.

Authorities say MacFarlane, of Del Mar, California, paid $450,000 to get his children admitted to USC as fake athletic recruits.

Janke created a bogus profile for MacFarlane's daughter that called her a "US Club Soccer All American," prosecutors say. MacFarlane's daughter graduated from USC last year without ever playing at the school, authorities say.

In exchange, Singer paid $150,000 to a private soccer club partly controlled by Janke, officials say.

Janke, 36, also created a fake athletic profile for MacFarlane's son that described him as over 6 feet when he was really 5 feet, 5 inches tall, authorities say. His son didn't play basketball at USC and withdrew from the school last year, they said.

Emails were sent Tuesday to lawyers for Janke and MacFarlane.

MacFarlane, 56, is the 14th parent to agree to plead guilty in the case. Others include Huffman , who will enter her guilty plea in Boston federal court May 21. She is charged with paying $15,000 to have someone correct answers on her daughter's SAT.

Parents who haven't reached a plea deal with prosecutors, including Loughlin and Giannulli, were hit earlier this month with a money laundering conspiracy charge on top of the mail fraud conspiracy charge they were already facing.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to USC as crew recruits, even though neither of them is a rower. They pleaded not guilty last week and have not publicly commented on the allegations.

Former Yale University women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith and former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer have already pleaded guilty. Michael Center, who was the men's tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin, will plead guilty on Wednesday.


Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

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