By Nate Raymond
BOSTON, March 28 (Reuters) - The former head coach of women's soccer at Yale University on Thursday is set to admit he took bribes to help the children of wealthy parents get into the Ivy League school, becoming the third person to plead guilty to a role in the largest U.S. college admissions scandal.
Rudolph "Rudy" Meredith, 51, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston and plead guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges as part of an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors in their ongoing investigation, according to court records.
He is among 50 people charged with participating in a scheme that helped parents buy admission to universities such as Yale, the University of Southern California and Georgetown University. The wealthy parents who were charged in the wide-ranging case included the actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
The scheme, headed by college admissions counseling service operator Rick Singer, involved paying $25 million in bribes to coaches including Meredith who helped parents secure spots for their children as fake athletic prospects, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Singer also facilitated cheating on college entrance exams for his clients. Singer pleaded guilty on March 12 to charges including racketeering conspiracy and is cooperating with investigators.
Meredith beginning in 2015 agreed with Singer to accept bribes to designate applicants as recruits to the Yale women's soccer team regardless of their athletic abilities, according to charging documents.
Prosecutors alleged that in one instance, Meredith in 2017 in exchange for $400,000 designated the daughter of a Los Angeles-based financial advisor as a soccer recruit even though she did not play competitive soccer.
Singer sent Meredith a fabricated athletic "profile" for the student that claimed she was co-captain of a prominent California club soccer team, prosecutors said.
Investigators uncovered the scheme while conducting an unrelated probe into Morrie Tobin, a Los Angeles resident who prosecutors said engaged in "pump-and-dump" stock market schemes, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Tobin, who pleaded guilty on Feb. 27 to conspiracy and securities fraud charges, told authorities that Meredith had sought a bribe in exchange for helping his daughter get into the Ivy League school, the person said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, after receiving the tip, secretly recorded a meeting in which Meredith sought $450,000 in exchange for designating Tobin's daughter as a soccer recruit, according the person and related court records.
Yale on Monday said it had rescinded the admission of a student linked to the scandal but did not name the student. (Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Scott Malone and David Gregorio)