Closing arguments are currently underway in a trial against a USC water polo coach. The coach is accused of faking test scores and inventing athletic achievements including using his role as a water polo coach to help rich applicants secure spots at the exclusive college.
According to prosecutors, wealthy parents paid over $200,000 so that the coach could establish their children as water polo recruits to gain acceptance. Attorneys for the defendant claim that their client never took a bribe. His attorneys claim that some of the money was deposited into the water polo team’s coffers with the rest of it being scholarship money awarded by a non-profit for the coach’s children. However, the non-profit organizer is a close crony of the coach and is considered the mastermind behind the bribery scheme which targeted several schools.
60 people have been charged in the scheme to help rich people get their low-performing children into exclusive schools. The water polo coach is the only one to fight the charges at trial. The investigation took down Lori Laughlin of Full House fame and other notable celebrities.
The Scheme and Investigation
This particular prosecution made national headlines due to the scope of the fraud. Dozens of wealthy parents paid scheme mastermind Rick Singer over $25 million over the course of seven years. In exchange for the money, Singer would bribe university test proctors and coaches to make bogus claims on behalf of wealthy children so that they could buy their way into elite universities. This included bribing administrators to facilitate cheating on entrance exams, bribing coaches to list unqualified students as recruits for sports programs, and using non-profits to conceal the money trail.
Singer arranged to allow students to cheat on SATs and ACTs by bribing test proctors. In other cases, he convinced psychiatrists to falsely attest that a child had a learning disability. He would then arrange for the student to take the test at a location under his control. In some cases, proctors altered test scores on behalf of the student. In other cases, students were aware that the fraud was taking place. In still other cases, a proxy was paid to take the test on the student’s behalf.
The Scope of the Investigation
The investigation not only took down ringleaders and cronies directly involved with the fraud, but it also took down parents and students who benefit from the fraud. 33 parents have been charged for conspiring to defraud the college admittance process while 11 sports coaches have been implicated in the scheme.
The scheme unraveled when ringleader Rick Singer turned state’s evidence against his customers and cronies bringing them all down with him.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have an underperforming child and a lot of disposable income, you may need a criminal defense attorney. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.