California Couple Sentenced in College Admissions Case
BOSTON – A California couple was sentenced today for conspiracy charges in connection with securing the fraudulent admission of their daughter to the University of Southern California (USC) as a purported athletic recruit.
Diane Blake, 55, of Ross, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to six weeks in prison, two years of supervised release during which time she must complete 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of $125,000. In July 2020, Diane Blake pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.
Todd Blake, 55, also of Ross, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to four months in prison, two years of supervised release during which time he must complete 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of $125,000. Todd Blake pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Beginning in 2017, the Blakes conspired with William “Rick” Singer and others to facilitate their daughter’s admission to USC as a purported volleyball recruit. Specifically, Singer had an athletic profile of their daughter created and sent to the USC athletic admissions committee, through co-conspirator Donna Heinel, then a USC athletics administrator. As a result, their daughter was allocated an athlete admission spot even though she was not actually recruited and did not play on the USC women’s volleyball team. The Blakes paid $50,000 to USC women’s athletics and $200,000 to Singer’s non-profit charity, The Key Worldwide Foundation, as a quid pro quo for the admission spot. The Blakes concealed this deal from USC personnel.
Diane and Todd Blake are the 24th and 25th parents to be sentenced in the college admissions case.
Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney, Karin M. Bell and Stephen E. Frank of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.