San Diego

San Diego Parent, Ex-USC Coach to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scam

MacFarlane was charged with paying bribes to get his children admitted to USC as fake athletic recruits

Two more people charged in a sweeping college admissions scandal, including a San Diego parent, have agreed to plead guilty to accusations they helped bribe students' way into elite universities.

Authorities said Tuesday that Toby MacFarlane, a former senior executive at a title insurance company from Del Mar, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Former University of Southern California assistant women's soccer coach Laura Janke will also plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and cooperate with federal authorities.

A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled for the defendants but it must be held no later than May 30, according to the plea agreement.

The agreement said prosecutors will recommend MacFarlane spend 15 months in prison with a year of supervised release. Prosecutors will also ask the judge to order MacFarlane to pay a $95,000 fine. 

MacFarlane was charged with paying bribes to get his children admitted to USC as fake athletic recruits.

The complaint alleged 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.

Authorities say Janke helped create bogus athletic profiles to make MacFarlane's children look like star athletes.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts said the conspiracy between MacFarlane and Janke went back as far as October 2013 when Singer emailed MacFarlane's daughter's high school transcript and college exam scores to Janke and another defendant. 

MacFarlane then created a purported charitable organization he established, the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF), to wire $50,000 to a private soccer club controlled by Janke and the other defendant, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Then, a fake athlete profile was created. 

Three years later, Singer directed Janke to create a falsified basketball profile for MacFarlane’s son, prosecutors said. 

MacFarlane was among 33 prominent parents charged in the case. Thirteen other parents have already agreed to plead guilty.

The federal indictment alleges 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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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