A Newport Beach woman who is an heiress to the Hot Pockets frozen snacks fortune was sentenced Tuesday in Boston to five months in federal prison for paying $300,000 to help her daughters gain entrance to elite universities through college entrance and athletic recruitment cheating schemes.
Michelle Janavs, 49, was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and serve two years on supervised release after she’s freed from prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.
Janavs pleaded guilty in October to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
She admitted that she pledged $100,000 to Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer to have a proctor correct ACT exam answers for one daughter. Janavs also agreed to pay $200,000 to have another daughter passed off as a star volleyball recruit, though was arrested before the girl could be admitted to USC, prosecutors said.
Janavs was formerly an executive at Chef America, a food manufacturer co-founded by her father that created Hot Pockets.
Singer, who ran a sham charitable organization called The Edge College & Career Network, also known as the Key, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation.
Dozens of parents and college athletic coaches were implicated in the 52-defendant scandal. 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 handed down last September for paying to have a proctor correct her daughter’s answers on a college-entrance exam.
Huffman, 57, 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.
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