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Press Release

Former Real Estate Executive Sentenced to Six Months in Prison in College Admissions Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A former real estate executive was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with paying bribes to facilitate the admission of his children to the University of Southern California (USC) as purported athletic recruits.

Toby Macfarlane, 56, of Del Mar, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to six months in prison, two years of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of $150,000. In June 2019, Macfarlane pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Macfarlane agreed to pay $450,000 to facilitate the admission of his children to USC as purported athletic recruits. In October 2013, co-conspirators Ali Khosroshahin and Laura Janke, who at the time coached the USC women’s soccer team, agreed to “recruit” Macfarlane’s daughter to the women’s soccer team. As part of the recruitment process, Khosroshahin and Janke created a falsified athletic profile for Macfarlane’s daughter. The falsified profile, which, among other things, described her as a “US Club Soccer All American” was submitted to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions. In March 2014, Macfarlane’s daughter received a formal acceptance letter from USC. Macfarlane subsequently issued a $200,000 check to The Key, Singer’s for-profit business, with “Real Estate Consulting & Analysis” written in the memo line. Ten days later, Singer caused The Key to issue a $100,000 payment to a private soccer club controlled by Khosroshahin and Janke.

In November 2016, Macfarlane re-engaged Singer to pursue the scheme for his son. Janke created a falsified basketball profile for Macfarlane’s son. Donna Heinel, the senior athletic director at USC, presented Macfarlane’s son to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions. In February 2017, Macfarlane’s son received a conditional acceptance letter from USC. Macfarlane subsequently issued a $50,000 check to USC Athletics and a $200,000 check to The Key, but which was deposited into Singer’s sham charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to pay for the scheme.

Khosroshahin and Janke have pleaded guilty and are also cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here:

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 Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright and Kristen A. Kearney of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit are prosecuting the cases.

The details contained in the court documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated November 13, 2019