San Diego Parent Charged in College Bribery Scheme Due in Federal Court

At least 13 parents charged for their alleged participation in the nationwide college bribery scheme will appear in a Boston federal court on Friday

More than a dozen parents, including one from San Diego, accused of bribing their children's way into elite universities in a nationwide college cheating scheme, faced a judge in a Boston federal court on Friday.

At least 15 parents were scheduled to make initial appearances in court for their alleged participation in the massive scheme. Among them are Elisabeth Kimmel, former owner of KFMB-TV, San Diego’s CBS affiliate.

The parents due in court Friday are just a handful of the 50 people charged for paying $25 million in bribes to college insiders to get their children into top-rated schools.

Kimmel is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She was spotted leaving Moakley Federal Court in Boston on Friday. All 15 parents who appeared in court, including Kimmel, did not enter pleas.

Kimmel was arrested on March 12, the day a federal indictment was unsealed alleging the accused aimed to facilitate students getting into high-profile D-1 schools, including Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, University of Texas, University of San Diego, University of Southern California and Wake Forest as recruited athletes regardless of their athletic ability.

Kimmel is accused of participating in an illegal conspiracy to get her daughter into Georgetown University and her son into USC, though there was no record of either student participating in their respective sports, according to prosecutors. 

Toby MacFarlane, a businessman from Del Mar, is also charged in the scheme. The complaint alleges that MacFarlane paid $200,000 to facilitate his daughter’s acceptance by USC, and $250,000 to secure his son’s admission to the private university.

According to the complaint, MacFarlane’s daughter graduated from USC in 2018 without playing soccer for the university. MacFarlane’s son was admitted to USC as a student athlete in 2017 and withdrew in May 2018 without playing basketball for the university.

MacFarlane was arraigned in San Diego federal court on March 12. He did not enter into a plea and was freed on his own recognizance -- meaning he promised he would attend all upcoming court proceedings. He did not have to pay bail or post bond.

Kimmel missed her first scheduled court appearance but showed up the following week where she appeared in court with her husband, a former San Diego County deputy district attorney who is not charged in the case.

She was ordered to give up her passport as part of a $500,000 "no-cash deposit" bond package and agreed to show up in federal court in Boston.

Three people have pleaded guilty in the nationwide scheme. On Thursday, Rudy Meredith, the former women's soccer coach for Yale, pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for recruiting students as athletes despite their athletic abilities. 

The alleged mastermind of the operation, William "Rick" Singer, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in federal court on March 12. He is cooperating with prosecutors.

Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were among those who were charged for the operation. They are expected to appear in court next week.

The defendants Friday were released under specific conditions, including that they not speak to other co-defendants in the case. They were also given some travel restrictions, with a judge saying they could travel abroad for business trips, but not for vacations.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said that MacFarlane was due in Boston federal court today. He is scheduled to appear next week. 

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