California couple plead guilty to paying $250K to get their daughter into elite Californian university in admissions fraud case

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A couple pleaded guilty to bribing their daughter´s way into the University of Southern California as part of the college admissions cheating scheme.

Diane Blake and Todd Blake from Ross, California, appeared before a Boston federal court judge via video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic and admitted to participating in the bribery scheme involving wealthy parents and elite universities across the country.

Under their plea deals, Diane Blake has agreed to serve six weeks in prison, while Todd Blake has agreed to serve four months.

The judge said he will decide whether to accept the deals after considering the pre-sentencing report, a document that contains background on defendants and helps guide sentencing decision.

The couple pleaded guilty to working with the admitted mastermind of the bribery scheme William 'Rick' Singer to have their daughter admitted to USC as a star volleyball player with fake athletic credentials. Prosecutors say they paid $50,000 to USC Women´s Athletics and $200,000 to Singer´s sham charity.


Diane Blake, 55, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

Todd Blake, 54, pleaded guilty to the same charge, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

They are the 27th and 28th parents to plead guilty in the case dubbed 'Operation Varsity Blues.' They're scheduled to be sentenced in November.


They were were among dozens of people charged last year in the bribery scheme. The parents paid hefty bribes to get their kids into top universities with bogus test scores or fake athletic credentials, authorities said.

Other parents who have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme include 'Full House' actor Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, who admitted to paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into USC as crew recruits, even though neither girl was a rower.


Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 21. If the judge accepts their plea deals, Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison and Giannulli will be sentenced to five months.

VARSITY BLUES SENTENCES

Of the 53 parents and teachers who were wrapped up in the scandal, these are the ones who have been sentenced after accepting plea deals;

Lori Loughlin
Recommended: Two months in prison; two years supervised release, 100 hours of community service, $150,000 fine

Mossimo Giannulli
Recommended: Five months in prison; two years supervised release, 100 hours of community service, $150,000 fine

Felicity Huffman
14 days prison, 1 year supervised release, 250 hours of community service, fine of $30,000

Douglas Hodge
Nine months in prison, two years of supervised release, fine of $750,000, 500 hours of community service

Gregory Abbott
1 month in prison, 1 year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, fine of $45,000

Marcia Abbott
1 month in prison, 1 year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, fine of $45,000

Jane Buckingham
3 weeks in prison, 1 year of supervised release, fine of $40,000

Gordon Caplan
1 month prison, 1 year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, fine of $50,000

Robert Flaxman
1 month in prison, 1 year of supervised released, 250 hours of community service, fine of $50,000

Agustin Huneus Jr.
5 months in prison, 2 years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service, $100,000 fine

Marjorie Klapper
Three weeks in prison, one year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, fine of $9,500

Peter Jan Sartorio
One year probation, 250 hours of community service, fine of $9,500

Stephen Semprevivo
Four months in prison, 2 years supervised release, 500 hours of community service, fine of $100,000

Devin Sloane
4 months in prison, 2 years supervised release, 500 hours of community service, fine of $95,000

Toby Macfarlane
6 months in prison, 1 year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service, fine of $150,000

Jeffrey Bizzack
2 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service per year of supervised release, fine of $250,000

Michael Center
Six months in prison, one year of supervised release, $60,000 forfeiture

Michelle Janavs
Five months in prison, two years of supervised release, fine of $250,000

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