College admissions scandal: Father sentenced to 6 months in prison; SAT/CAT administrator pleads guilty

UPI 1 month ago

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A federal judge sentenced a former California real estate executive to six months in prison and a former college exam proctor pleaded guilty to racketeering in a multimillion-dollar college admissions scandal involving the United States' rich and elite.

In a Boston courtroom on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton handed Toby Macfarlane, 56, the harshest sentence yet in the scandal for paying $450,000 for his children to gain admission as athletic recruits to the University of Southern California.

Macfarlane pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Gorton also sentenced him to two years of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine.

Though far less severe than the 15-month prison term recommended by the government, it is the harshest of the 14 sentences handed down so far in the scandal that has seen charges laid against rich parents including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Huffman pleaded guilty in May and served most of her 14-day prison sentence last month.

Macfarlane's co-conspirators, former USC women's soccer coaches Ali Khosroshahin and Laura Janke and Donna Heinel, USC's senior athletic director, have all been charged for their alleged roles in the scheme. Janke and Khosroshahin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering in May and June, respectively.

Gorton called Macfarlane a "thief" for having twice participated in the admissions scheme allegedly masterminded by William "Rick" Singer, founder of the college consulting company Edge College & Career Network.

"Higher education in this country aspires to be a meritocracy," Gorton told Macfarlane. "Those who work the hardest to make the best grades rightfully get accepted into the best schools. You had the audacity and the self-aggrandizing impudence to use your wealth to cheat and lie your way around the rules that apply to everyone else."

Also on Wednesday, Igor Dvorskiy, a former director of a West Hollywood private school, pleaded guilty in a Boston courtroom to racketeering, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts said in a statement.

Dvorskiy, an SAT and ACT exam administrator at the private Los Angeles School, accepted bribes from Singer to allow a co-conspirator, usually Mark Riddell, to correct the exam answers of Singer's clients. Riddell pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to various conspiracy charges.

Dvorskiy is to be sentenced on Feb. 7.

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