Former USC coach testifies she created phony athletic profiles to help children of wealthy parents into university

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A former soccer coach at the University of Southern California told a Boston jury on Monday she helped admit the children of affluent parents by creating fake athletic profiles even if they did not play any sports.

Laura Janke, a former USC assistant women’s soccer coach, testified in the trial of ex-casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples and Gap Inc. executive John Wilson, who allegedly participated in the fraudulent college admissions scheme.

Janke admitted to falsifying the athletic profile of Abdelaziz's daughter, claiming she was a basketball recruit from Hong Kong. She admitted to the jury she received $50,000 for each fake account she created.

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To create the profiles, Janke told the jury she would create or exaggerate accomplishments for the clients and pair them with images of the children she found online. Janke said she never met the parents or families she was helping.

“I had to make it believable enough without raising any red flags,” Janke said.

Janke pleaded guilty in 2019 of conspiracy to commit racketeering with college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, who prosecutors say masterminded the entire scheme, and agreed to cooperate with the broader investigation. Janke has not yet been sentenced, and no date has been set.

Abdelaziz is accused of paying $300,000 to get his daughter into USC, while Wilson is accused of paying $220,000 to get his son into USC and another $1 million to get his twin daughters into Harvard University and Stanford University. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

Janke said after she left USC in 2015, she created athletic profiles to help students get into other prestigious schools.

The trial is part of "Operation Varsity Blues," the FBI code name for the investigation.

The operation revealed wealthy families bribed universities to let their children into the school despite their lack of academic or athletic talents. Some of the schools included in the scandal were Ivy league Schools, such as Yale University and Harvard University, and other competitive colleges, such as Stanford University.

Fifty-seven people have been charged in the scandal, according to NBC News. Full House star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli both pleaded guilty. Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison but released to home confinement for the final three weeks. Loughlin served two months. Actress Felicity Huffman also pleaded guilty and was in prison for 11 days out of a two-week sentence.

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Singer also pleaded guilty in exchange for his cooperation with investigators.

Three other parents are scheduled to go to trial in January 2022.

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Tags: News, colleges and universities, Scandal, Yale, Harvard

Original Author: Misty Severi

Original Location: Former USC coach testifies she created phony athletic profiles to help children of wealthy parents into university

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