Two more defendants agree to plead guilty in college admissions bribery case

Joey Garrison
A former women's soccer assistant coach at USC and another parent have agreed to plead guilty in the nation's college admissions bribery case.

BOSTON – Two more defendants – a former women's soccer assistant coach at the University of Southern California and a parent – have agreed to plead guilty in the nation's college admissions cheating and bribery case. 

Laura Janke, former USC coach, and Toby MacFarlane, of Del Mar, California, a former senior executive at a title insurance company, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in plea agreements filed in federal court Tuesday.

On two occasions three years apart, federal prosecutors say, MacFarlane made payments totaling at least $200,000 to the ringleader of the cheating scheme, Rick Singer, to get his daughter and later his son into USC. Janke has admitted to creating fake sports profiles for the children as college athletic recruits to get them into school.

Toby MacFarlane departs federal court in Boston on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photos/Michael Dwyer) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

Janke has agreed to plead guilty to committing racketeering and to also cooperate with the government’s investigation. MacFarlane has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Both face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. But the Justice Department has recommended the "low end" of sentencing guidelines because of their guilty pleas and Janke's cooperation.

Court dates are not set for either defendant.

In all, federal prosecutors say that MacFarlane paid $450,000 to facilitate the admission of his children to USC as purported athletic recruits by funneling money into Singer's organization. 

The first transaction involved MacFarlane's daughter. Singer emailed MacFarlane’s daughter’s high school transcript and college exam scores to Janke and another defendant on Oct. 3, 2013, according to prosecutors. Singer's organization then wired $50,000 to a private soccer club operated by Janke and the other defendant, they say. 

Prosecutors say Janke created a fake soccer profile for MacFarlane's daughter with information supplied by Singer and MacFarlane. It falsely described her as a “US Club Soccer All American." She was admitted into USC on March 4, 2014.

In May, MacFarlane issued a $200,000 payment to Singer's college counseling business "The Key,"  prosecutors say. Later that month, Singer made a $100,000 payment to Janke's soccer club. 

Two years later, prosecutors say, Janke, Singer and MacFarlane took part in another scheme to get MacFarlane's son accepted into USC. 

They say Janke in November 2016 created a falsified basketball for MacFarlane's son at Singer's request. USC issued a conditional acceptance to the son as a student-athlete in February 2017.

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, prosecutors say. MacFarlane issued a $200,000 check to Singer's company with “Real Estate Consulting” written in the memo line on April 18, 2017.

Janke, who was among 12 defendants to plead not guilty in March, is now the fourth college coach who has either pleaded guilt in court or by agreement for their role in the largest-ever college admissions bribery and cheating scandal.

Others are former Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith, former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer and former University of Texas tennis coach Michael Center, who is expected to plead guilty in court Wednesday.

In all, 18 out of 50 defendants in the high-profile case have either pleaded guilty to charges in court or have agreed to plead guilty at a later court date. Fourteen out of 33 parents charged in the case, including actress Felicity Huffman, have agreed to plead guilty but await their court date next month.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Two more defendants agree to plead guilty in college admissions bribery case