Legal Analyst Jan Ronis: Dozens ensnared in college admissions scam

A college admissions scandal moved from bombshell indictments to guilty pleas in a matter of hours, yet the full fallout from the federal case against the rich and famous could take months or more to unfold.

Big names such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin headline the list of some 50 people charged in documents released Tuesday that describe a scheme to cheat the admissions process at eight sought-after schools. The parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools, authorities said.

Caught in the scandal is the former Owner and President of KFMB radio and TV, Elisabeth Kimmel, who has a home in La Jolla. Del Mar businessman Toby MacFarlane is also one of the nearly 50 people indicted. Also a family from the Los Angeles area is accused of bribing a University of San Diego coach to get their child into the college.

At the center of the scheme was admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California, authorities said. Singer pleaded guilty and his lawyer, Donald Heller, said his client intends to cooperate fully with prosecutors and is “remorseful and contrite and wants to move on with his life.”

Prosecutors said that parents paid Singer big money from 2011 up until just last month to bribe coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes to boost their chances of getting accepted.

No students were charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of what was going on. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking any action against the students.

The colleges themselves are not targets, the prosecutor said. A number of the institutions moved quickly to fire or suspend the coaches and distance their name from the scandal, portraying themselves as victims. Stanford fired the sailing coach, and USC dropped its water polo coach and an athletic administrator. UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.

Legal Analyst Jan Ronis discussed the scandal on Good Morning San Diego.

Categories: Local San Diego News