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Press Release

Parent Agrees to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

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

BOSTON – A Chinese woman who resides in Canada agreed to plead guilty today in federal court in Boston to using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate her son’s admission to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) as a purported soccer recruit.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, agreed to plead guilty to one count of federal programs bribery before U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock, who scheduled sentencing for May 19, 2019. Sui has been detained in Spain since her arrest there on Sept. 16, 2019. Sui was extradited to Boston for today’s plea hearing.

Sui agreed with William “Rick” Singer to pay $400,000 to facilitate her son’s admission to UCLA as a purported soccer recruit. During a phone call in August 2018, Singer explained to Sui that he would write Sui’s son application in a “special way” that would guarantee his admission to UCLA, in exchange for $400,000. Between September and October 2018, Singer facilitated the transfer of Sui’s son’s transcript to the head coach of men’s soccer at UCLA, who allegedly designated Sui’s son as a recruited student-athlete. 

On Oct. 24, 2018, Singer instructed Sui to wire Singer $100,000 which would be “paid to the coach at UCLA” in exchange for a letter of intent from the UCLA soccer coach recruiting Sui’s son onto the soccer team. Two days later, Sui wired the $100,000 to a bank account in Massachusetts in the name of Singer’s sham charitable organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF).

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

The charge of federal programs bribery provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. According to the plea agreement, the parties will recommend a sentence of time served (approximately five months in prison), one year of supervised release, a fine and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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 February 21, 2020