A Newport Beach woman has agreed to plead guilty to charges filed Monday in Boston alleging she paid $9,000 to have an individual take online classes for her son, in order to earn credits to facilitate his graduation from Georgetown University.
Karen Littlefair, 57, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on a date to be scheduled by the court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. She is the latest defendant to strike a deal in a wide-ranging college-admissions-cheating scandal.
According to the terms of her plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $9,500 and restitution.
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Prosecutors contend that Littlefair agreed with Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer and others to pay $9,000 to have an employee of Singer’s for-profit college counseling business, The Edge College & Career Network, also known as the Key, take online classes in place of Littlefair’s son and submit the fraudulently earned credits to Georgetown.
The Key employee allegedly completed four classes for Littlefair’s son at Georgetown and elsewhere, prosecutors said. Littlefair’s son graduated from Georgetown, using the credits earned by the Key employee, in May 2018.
Singer previously pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation.
Dozens of parents and college athletic coaches were implicated in the 52-defendant nationwide bribery scandal, in which wealthy parents paid Singer thousands of dollars to have their children’s entrance-exam scores doctored. In other cases, students were falsely admitted to elite universities as athletic recruits, even though they never had any experience in the sports for which they were being recruited.
Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman was released Oct. 25 from a low-security federal prison camp in Northern California 11 days into a 14-day sentence for paying to have a proctor correct her daughter’s answers on a college-entrance exam.
Huffman, 56, was sentenced to the prison time in September. She was also ordered to spend a year on supervised release, pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. The “Desperate Housewives” actress was the first parent to be sentenced in connection with the wide-ranging college-admissions cheating scandal, a probe dubbed “Varsity Blues.”
“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy, bribery and money-laundering charges in the scandal.