Monday, October 26, 2020

Former CEO of investment firm Pimco plead guilty in college admission bribery scandal

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Douglas Hodge, the former chief executive of the investment firm Pimco, has agreed to plead guilty to participating in what prosecutors say is the largest college admissions scam uncovered in the United States, according to a court filing on Thursday.

Hodge is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Monday to enter the plea after being charged with engaging in a bribery scheme in order to facilitate the admission of two of his children to the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits.

The specific counts to which Hodge will plead were not clear. He was previously indicted on charges of conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering. Brien O’Connor, a lawyer for Hodge, declined to comment.

Hodge was CEO of Pimco, the world’s largest bond manager, from 2014 to 2016.

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Hodge is among 52 people charged with participating in a vast scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with a California college admissions consultant to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of their children to top schools.

William “Rick” Singer, the consultant, pleaded guilty in March to charges he facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and helped bribe sports coaches at universities to present his clients’ children as fake athletic recruits.

The 35 parents charged in the investigation include executives and celebrities, such as “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin.

Huffman reported to prison on Tuesday after she admitted to engaging in the college exam cheating scheme and was sentenced to a 14-day term. Loughlin has pleaded not guilty.

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Prosecutors alleged that beginning in 2012, Hodge agreed to pay Singer $200,000 to facilitate through bribery his daughter’s admission to USC as a purported soccer recruit.

He later agreed to pay Singer another $325,000, beginning in 2014, to similarly facilitate his son’s admission to USC as a football recruit using falsified athletic profiles.

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