The former men’s soccer coach at UCLA pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring with Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer and others to help get students whose parents paid bribes admitted to the university as soccer recruits.
Jorge Salcedo, 47, of Los Angeles, entered a guilty plea in Boston federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani will not formally accept the plea until sentencing on Nov. 24, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence at the low end of the guidelines — one year of supervised release, a fine, forfeiture in the amount of $200,000 and restitution.
In 2016, Salcedo agreed with Singer, Ali Khosroshahin — a former head coach of women’s soccer at USC — and others to allow for the admission of the daughter of Davina and Bruce Isackson to UCLA as a purported women’s soccer recruit.
Salcedo emailed the UCLA women’s soccer coaches the Isacksons’ daughter’s transcript, test scores and a fake soccer profile that he had received from Singer and Khosroshahin.
When UCLA compliance officers questioned how the girl was discovered and whether she actually played soccer, Salcedo created a fake story about how he learned about her through a club team coach. Around June 29, 2016, UCLA provisionally admitted the girl as a recruited walk-on for the women’s soccer team. For his part in the deal, Salcedo received $100,000 of the $250,000 that the Isacksons paid Singer.
Two years later, Salcedo worked with Singer and Khosroshahin to “recruit” the son of Xiaoning Sui, another client of Singer’s, to the UCLA men’s soccer team despite the fact the boy did not play soccer competitively.
In the recruitment paperwork, Salcedo falsely reported that he had seen Sui’s son play in China and that he planned to offer him a 25% scholarship, which would be “good value” for a player of his quality. As a result of Salcedo’s recruitment, Sui’s son was admitted to UCLA as a student-athlete on the men’s soccer team with a 25% scholarship. In exchange, Salcedo accepted a $100,000 bribe from Singer, who had been paid $400,000 by Sui, federal prosecutors said.
Salcedo also conspired with scheme mastermind Singer to recruit another student. During a consensually recorded call on Nov. 30, 2018, Singer told Salcedo he had another student for Salcedo to recruit who was not a “real soccer player.” Singer asked Salcedo if they could “do the same deal we did with” Sui’s son. After Singer clarified that the deal would be for 2020, Salcedo affirmed that he could give the student a scholarship in return for $100,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Singer, Khosroshahin, Davina and Bruce Isackson, and Sui have all pleaded guilty to their roles in the offense. Sui was sentenced to time already served of five months in prison. Singer, Khosroshahin and Davina and Bruce Isackson are cooperating with the government’s investigation and awaiting sentencing.
The charge of racketeering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater and restitution.
Dozens of parents and college athletic coaches were implicated in the scandal.
“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty in May to federal conspiracy charges for participating in the scheme and face sentencing on Aug. 21.
If the judge accepts their plea deals, Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison, and Giannulli will be sentenced to five months.
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 was also ordered to spend a year on supervised release, pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. She was the first parent to be sentenced in connection with the wide-ranging college-admissions cheating scandal, a probe code-named “Varsity Blues.”
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