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Press Release

University Tennis Coach Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Case

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

BOSTON – The former head coach of the men’s tennis team at the University of Texas at Austin pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston in connection with accepting a $100,000 bribe to secure the admission of a purported student-athlete to the university.

Michael Center, 54, of Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Oct. 30, 2019. Center was initially charged by criminal complaint on March 12, 2019.

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

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 case.

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 April 24, 2019

Financial Fraud