Friday, October 23, 2020

Prosecutors come to L.A. looking to nab more parents in college admissions scandal

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Prosecutors in the college admissions scandal are in Los Angeles this week as they continue to widen their investigation in the far-reaching scam.

Sources and court records indicate they are mulling new charges against parents they believe used the services of William “Rick” Singer, the admitted mastermind in the bribery and cheating scheme that allowed the children of the super wealthy to get into top colleges.

Here is what we’ve learned:

New targets are under review

Prosecutors said in a recent court filing that they’ve collected evidence that can be used to charge additional people in the case. In a request for a protective order on evidence that will soon be turned over to defense attorneys, they said the wiretaps, financial documents, emails and surveillance photographs they have amassed contain information about “targets of the investigation who have not yet been publicly charged.”

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Sources told The Times that federal prosecutors from Boston have interviewed people in Los Angeles this week, asking about additional students whose parents have not been charged in the admissions scandal.

The prosecutors, led by Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Rosen, are interviewing potential witnesses in L.A. to bolster their existing cases and to build new ones, according to two sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks publicly.

Two parents are now helping prosecutors

A Bay Area couple have signed formal cooperation deals with prosecutors. Bruce and Davina Isackson of Hillsborough, Calif., are accused of paying $600,000 to rig a college entrance exam and slip their two daughters into UCLA and USC as recruited athletes.

Prosecutors want to know whether anyone at UCLA or USC knew about the athletic recruiting scheme beyond the coaches and officials who have already been indicted, a person familiar with the matter said.

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Of the $250,000 the Isacksons allegedly spent to ensure their older daughter was admitted to UCLA as a soccer player, $100,000 went to Jorge Salcedo, the school’s former men’s soccer coach, according to an indictment that charges Salcedo and six other college coaches and officials with racketeering.

Bruce Isackson will plead guilty to fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Davina Isackson has agreed to plead guilty to one count of fraud conspiracy. If prosecutors decide the couple provides useful information, they can recommend that a judge lighten their sentences.

In his plea agreement, prosecutors recommended a sentence for Bruce Isackson at the “low end” of sentencing guidelines that call for 37 to 46 months in prison. For Davina Isackson, they suggested a sentence at the low end of 27 to 33 months in prison.

In a statement last week, the couple said they were “profoundly sorry,” having “harmed and embarrassed” their children and disappointed their family and friends.

“We have worked cooperatively with the prosecutors,” they said, “and will continue to do so as we take full responsibility for our bad judgment.”

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