Ex-tennis academy president gets three months in prison for U.S. college scam

Nate Raymond
·2 min read
Martin Fox arrives at the federal courthouse before entering a plea in Boston
Martin Fox arrives at the federal courthouse before entering a plea in Boston

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) - The former president of a private tennis academy in Texas was sentenced on Friday to three months in prison after admitting he acted as a middleman to pay bribes to help the children of wealthy parents gain admission to selective universities.

Federal prosecutors in Boston had sought six months in prison for Martin Fox for helping pay bribes to university coaches to designate children as fake athletic recruits and to a college entrance exam administrator to facilitate cheating.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani called it an "offense of greed that the defendant really had no reason to be doing." But given recent health issues Fox has faced, she imposed a shorter prison term to be followed by three months in home confinement.

Fox, who pleaded guilty last year to racketeering conspiracy, must also pay a $95,000 fine and forfeit $245,000 that he earned through the scheme, whose mastermind paid him to facilitate bribes.

"I'm ashamed of what I've done," Fox, 63, said during a virtual court hearing on Friday. "My parents raised me better than this."

Fifty-eight people have been charged in the scandal, in which prosecutors said parents conspired with California college admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer to secure their children's college admissions fraudulently.

The parents include "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman, who received a 14-day prison sentence, and "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, who was sentenced to two months in prison. Singer pleaded guilty in March 2019.

Prosecutors said that from 2015 to 2017, Fox acted as a middleman for Singer to pay bribes to coaches at the University of Texas and University of San Diego in exchange for designating three children as athletic recruits.

They said Fox also funneled bribes to a college entrance exam administrator in Houston to facilitate cheating on ACT and SAT exams by four children of Singer's clients.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Diane Craft)