Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Former CEO of investment firm Pimco faces two years’ jail over bribes in college admission bribery scandal


Former Pimco CEO Douglas Hodge, who admitted paying bribes of more than $625,000 (€565,000) to get his children into the University of Southern California (USC) and Georgetown University, should serve two years in prison, US federal prosecutors said in a court filing.

Hodge used a corrupt college admissions counsellor’s “side door” scheme more often and longer than any of the other 35 parents charged in the scandal, prosecutors said. Hodge stopped fighting the charges in October when he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud and to money laundering, saying he was “ashamed” of his conduct. He faces sentencing on Friday in Boston.

Prosecutors said in Monday’s filing that Hodge paid the bribes over the course of a decade to win places for two children at USC and two at Georgetown, all as phony athletic recruits.

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He was secretly recorded in 2018 trying to get a fifth child into Loyola Marymount University, prosecutors said.

Hodge’s lawyers contend in their own filing that their client’s crimes are similar to those of Toby MacFarlane, who got six months in prison, the longest sentence given so far in the admissions case. They said Hodge accepts full responsibility and is “unequivocally remorseful.”

Some parents caught up in the scam paid tens of thousands of dollars to rig their children’s entrance exam scores, the government says.

To lock in a seat at elite universities from Stanford to Georgetown to Yale, others allegedly paid hundreds of thousands in bribes for athletic coaches to put their kids’ names on recruiting lists. Some allegedly did both.

The US Department of Justice says it’s the biggest college admissions racket it has ever prosecuted. None of the students or colleges were charged.

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Among his bribes, Hodge directly paid $150,000 to former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, according to prosecutors.


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