Parents plead guilty in US college admissions bribery scandal

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A California couple who paid $600,000 to help their children get into major universities pleaded guilty on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate with investigators, potentially leading to new charges in the sweeping college admissions bribery scandal.

Bruce Isackson, a 62-year-old real estate developer, and his wife Davina were among dozens of people -- including celebrities and industry CEOs -- indicted in a scam to help children of the American elite gain entry into top colleges.


The Isacksons both pleaded guilty to one count of “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Bruce Isackson also pleaded guilty to “one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to defraud” US tax authorities, the statement said.

The ringleader behind the scam, William “Rick” Singer, who authorities say was paid about $25 million dollars to bribe coaches and university administrators, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with authorities.

Under the scam, parents paid a firm run by Singer to cheat on college entrance exams for their children or to bribe coaches to help non-athletic students get scholarships.

The Isacksons agreed to pay Singer “an amount, ultimately totaling $600,000, to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for their younger daughter and the college recruitment scheme for both of their daughters,” the Justice Department said.

They also underpaid on their federal income taxes by “deducting the bribe payments as purported charitable contributions.”

The Isacksons are the first parents -- out of a total of 33 indicted in the scandal -- to sign a cooperation agreement with investigators, which could help them gather enough evidence to charge others.

Their sentencing is scheduled for July 31.

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