Two parents charged in nationwide college admission improprieties case plead guilty

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Two parents charged in the college admissions case pleaded guilty May 1, in federal court in Boston in connection with paying a total of $600,000 to facilitate their children’s admission to college.

Bruce Isackson, 62, and Davina Isackson, 55, of Hillsborough, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Bruce Isackson also pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for July 31, 2019.

Image of one of the buildings on the Stanford University campus. (Photo: Stanford.edu)

Dozens of individuals allegedly involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston. Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated, as well as parents and exam administrators.

Charges against William ‘Rick’ Singer, who ran the company Edge College & Career Network, related to operating a scheme that charged anywhere from $100,000 to $2.5 million per child for services “which were masked as contributions to a scam charity Singer runs,” Reuters reported.

“I was essentially buying or bribing the coaches for a spot. …And that occurred very frequently,” Singer is quoted saying in the Reuters report, when he pleaded guilty.

According to the charging documents, the Isacksons agreed to pay Singer, an amount, ultimately totaling $600,000, to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for their younger daughter and the college recruitment scheme for both of their daughters. The Isacksons also underpaid their federal income taxes by deducting the bribe payments as purported charitable contributions. The Isacksons are cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Meanwhile, Singer, who was charged with racketeering conspiracy; money laundering conspiracy; conspiracy to defraud U.S.; and obstruction of justice, pled guilty to all counts March 12, and is set to be sentenced June 19, according to an earlier Justice Department press release.

Regarding what are the maximum sentences the Isacksons face –

  1. The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
  2. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering.
  3. The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

 

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