Two Defendants in College Admissions Case to Plead Guilty
BOSTON – Two defendants will plead guilty to charges in connection with using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate the admission of applicants to selective colleges and universities.
Laura Janke, 36, of North Hollywood, Calif., a former assistant coach of women’s soccer at the University of Southern California (USC), will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and will cooperate with the government’s investigation. Janke was previously indicted along with 11 other defendants.
Toby MacFarlane, 56, of Del Mar, Calif., a former senior executive at a title insurance company, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. MacFarlane was previously charged by criminal complaint.
The defendants were charged in March 2019 with conspiring with William “Rick” Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif., and other parents, coaches and university administrators, to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of students to selective colleges and universities and to cheat on college entrance exams. According to court documents, MacFarlane paid $450,000 to facilitate the admission of his children to USC as purported athletic recruits. Specifically, on Oct. 3, 2013, Singer emailed MacFarlane’s daughter’s high school transcript and college exam scores to Janke and another defendant. Soon after, Singer caused a purported charitable organization he established, the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF), to wire $50,000 to a private soccer club controlled by Janke and the other defendant. Using materials provided by MacFarlane and Singer, Janke then created a falsified soccer profile for MacFarlane’s daughter, falsely describing her as a “US Club Soccer All American” in high school. MacFarlane’s daughter was presented to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions as a purported soccer recruit, and was accepted to USC in March 2014. On May 2, 2014, MacFarlane issued a $200,000 check to the Edge College & Career Network LLC (“The Key”) – Singer’s for-profit college counseling and preparation business – with “Real Estate Consulting & Analysis” written in the memo line. On May 12, 2014, Singer issued a $100,000 payment to the private soccer club which Janke partly controlled.
Similarly, in November 2016, Singer directed Janke to create a falsified basketball profile for MacFarlane’s son. Singer then emailed the profile to a USC administrator to present to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions as a purported basketball recruit. In February 2017, USC issued a conditional acceptance to MacFarlane’s son as a student-athlete. On Feb. 23, 2017, MacFarlane sent a $50,000 check to USC Athletics, and the following month USC mailed MacFarlane’s son a formal acceptance letter. On April 18, 2017, MacFarlane issued a $200,000 check to KWF with “Real Estate Consulting” written in the memo line.
Plea hearings have not yet been scheduled by the Court. 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.
The charge of racketeering conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, and restitution. The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. 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.