College test taker gets prison and a coach is convicted in the admissions scam : NPR


Mark Riddell arrives at federal courtroom in Boston on April 12, 2019. The previous Florida prep faculty administrator took school entrance exams for college students in alternate for money to assist rich dad and mom get their children into elite universities.

Charles Krupa/AP

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Mark Riddell arrives at federal courtroom in Boston on April 12, 2019. The previous Florida prep faculty administrator took school entrance exams for college students in alternate for money to assist rich dad and mom get their children into elite universities.

Charles Krupa/AP

BOSTON — A former Florida prep faculty administrator was sentenced to federal jail and a adorned water polo coach on the College of Southern California was swiftly convicted by a jury in a busy Friday in Boston federal courtroom within the lengthy working college admissions bribery scandal. Mark Riddell, who was paid handsomely to take school entrance exams for rich college students, was handed a four-month jail sentence, ordered to serve two years of supervised launch and forfeit practically $240,000.

Lies, Money And Cheating: The Deeper Story Of The College Admissions Scandal

In the meantime, former USC coach Jovan Vavic, who faked the athletic credentials of wealthy college students so they may achieve admission, was convicted on all three counts of fraud and bribery he confronted after a jury deliberated lower than a day following his practically monthlong trial. U.S. Lawyer for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins mentioned the decision in Vavic’s trial represents the ultimate conviction within the headline grabbing case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The investigation introduced in 2019 uncovered corruption within the school admissions course of at Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and different sought-after colleges, and implicated rich and related dad and mom, together with actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s dressmaker husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

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“To say the conduct on this case was reprehensible is an understatement,” Rollins mentioned afterward, acknowledging the sprawling investigation preceded her taking workplace earlier this yr. “The wealthy, highly effective and well-known — dripping with privilege and entitlement — used their cash and clout to steal school admissions spots from extra certified and deserving college students.” Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston workplace, mentioned he hoped “many essential classes” have been discovered from the investigation and that faculties make certain the correct safeguards are in place. “Initially, you may’t pay to play and lie and cheat to avoid the school admissions course of,” he mentioned. “As a result of you’ll get caught.”

Jovan Vavic, a former College of Southern California water polo coach, arrives at federal courtroom in Boston on March 25, 2019.

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Jovan Vavic, a former College of Southern California water polo coach, arrives at federal courtroom in Boston on March 25, 2019.

Steven Senne/AP

Vavic, a 60-year-old, who guided USC’s males’s and girls’s water polo groups to 16 nationwide championships, strode out of the courtroom Friday along with his household, declining to touch upon the decision. Prosecutors mentioned he obtained about $250,000 in bribes for designating unqualified college students as water polo recruits so they may attend the elite Los Angeles faculty. However attorneys for Vavic argued he was simply doing what he might to lift cash for his dominant, championship-winning program as athletic officers had demanded. They maintained he by no means lied, by no means took a bribe and was a sufferer of USC’s need to cowl up a “pervasive tradition” of accepting rich college students who might present donation windfalls.

The college, which fired Vavic after his 2019 arrest, has burdened its admissions processes are “not on trial.” In a separate courtroom simply minutes after Vavic’s verdict was learn, Riddell was contrite as he confronted sentencing on fraud and cash laundering conspiracy prices.

2 parents are convicted in the 1st trial of the 'Varsity Blues' admission scandal

The Harvard graduate, who emerged as a key determine within the wide-ranging scandal, apologized to the various college students that misplaced out on school alternatives due to his “horrible determination.” He mentioned he introduced disgrace to his household and pleaded for leniency for cooperating with regulation enforcement officers and for committing to make amends now and going ahead for his actions. Riddell’s attorneys mentioned he ought to serve one to 2 months in jail as a result of he was neither the ringleader of the scheme nor a college insider, just like the coaches and school directors implicated. In addition they famous he is already paid practically $166,000 towards the forfeiture obligation.

Judge Hands Down Harshest Penalty Yet From College Admissions Scandal

Choose Nathaniel Gorton, nonetheless, sided with prosecutors who had argued for the four-month sentence. He mentioned Riddell performed a key function for a few years within the scheme by secretly taking the ACT and SAT for college students, or correcting their solutions. “And for what?” the choose mentioned. “You didn’t want the cash. How might you have got stooped so low?”



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