A key tip that led to what authorities describe as the largest college admissions cheating scandal ever came from a Los Angeles parent who was under investigation in an unrelated securities case, a law enforcement source told the Los Angeles Times.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, could not identify the parent but said the subject provided vital information that launched the investigation. The sweeping scandal has led to criminal charges against numerous wealthy and powerful Southern California residents, including two Hollywood actresses, a fashion designer, a best-selling self-help author and the former CEO of a global investment firms.
It’s unclear whether the parent who aided authorities was listed in the criminal indictment filed Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Boston.
The scheme, which began in 2011, centered on a Newport Beach college placement firm run by Rick Singer. Wealthy parents paid Singer to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, according to court records.
According to court papers cited by The Times, the scam unraveled last year when one of Singer’s coaches decided to go off on his own and work directly with a parent.
Rudy Meredith, Yale’s women’s soccer coach for more than two decades, had previously helped Singer fake the soccer credentials of a child of a Singer client. But in spring 2018, he solicited a bribe directly from the father of a second Yale applicant. What the coach did not know was that the parent took the proposal to federal prosecutors because the parent was already charged in a stock fraud and was looking to cut a deal, according to the court papers. The source could not confirm whether the father of that applicant was the L.A. parent.
Meredith met with the father in a Boston hotel room, which the FBI had wiretapped, according to court records. At this meeting, the father paid Meredith $2,000 and agreed to eventually spend $450,000 on the effort.
Meredith began cooperating with the government’s investigation with the hope of receiving leniency when he is sentenced, according to the government. He has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy.
Information about the L.A. parent was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
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