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Press Release

Parent Sentenced in College Admissions Case

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

BOSTON – A Chinese woman who resides in Canada was sentenced today for using bribery 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, was sentenced during a videoconference hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to time served (approximately five months in prison) and is ordered to pay a fine of $250,000. Sui has agreed to forfeit the $400,000 that she paid to facilitate the crime. In February 2020, Sui agreed to plead guilty to one count of federal programs bribery, and Judge Woodlock accepted that plea during her sentencing. Sui was arrested in Spain on Sept. 16, 2019, and detained until she was extradited to Boston for the 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, even though he did not play competitive soccer. During a phone call in August 2018, Singer explained to Sui that he would write Sui’s son's application in a “special way” that would guarantee his admission to UCLA, in exchange for $400,000.

On Oct. 24, 2018, Singer instructed Sui to wire Singer $100,000 which he told her would be “paid to the coach at UCLA” in exchange for a letter of intent from the 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). The head coach of men’s soccer at UCLA subsequently designated Sui’s son as a recruited soccer player, which also resulted in his receipt of a scholarship. 

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 May 18, 2020