Mr Singer, who co-operates with the government, has described himself as a “concierge” consultant for wealthy families, bragging that he can get their children into universities with the best brands in the country.
During the trial, Mr Vavic’s lawyers said he never embezzled money or committed fraud. They said about $100,000 of the money was deposited into a USC account for the water polo teams. Another $120,000 went to pay for his sons’ tuition at a private school, money they say came in the form of scholarships from Mr. Singer’s foundation. Prosecutors said the foundation was a conduit for corruption.
The sweeping federal survey has exposed the dirty underbelly of college admissions. Federal prosecutors say a shrewd college consultant — Mr. Singer, known as Rick — was able to manipulate the preference given to recruited athletes for students who otherwise wouldn’t qualify. Prosecutors were careful to say, however, that the universities involved were not on trial and were the unwitting victims of the fraud.
In part of the investigation, prosecutors accused parents of paying Mr Singer to falsify their children’s standardized test results by exploiting the system that allows students with learning disabilities to travel to places of special tests, where Mr. Singer could bribe the test administrators. .
Key figures of “Operation Varsity Blues”
More than 50 people charged. In 2019, a federal investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues ensnared dozens of parents, coaches and exam administrators in a massive college admissions program that involved athletic programs at the ‘University of Southern California, Yale, Stanford and other schools.
On Friday, Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts sentenced Mark Riddell, a former Florida prep school administrator who was paid to take the ACT or SAT instead of students or to correct their answers. Mr Riddell pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges and cooperated with investigators. He was sentenced to four months in prison; the judge said his sentence would have been a year had he not cooperated.
Mr Vavic’s attorney, Stephen G. Larson, told the jury that donations were part of the “lifeblood” of USC. Jurors, however, appeared to accept the prosecution’s argument that the case did not involve the donation of a large sum of money to a university. , but about lying and cheating on a college application.
Mr Larson said on Friday that Mr Vavic was “disappointed” but “respectful of the jury’s decision”, and hinted he would appeal.