A federal arbitral tribunal on Friday found a former water polo coach at the University of Southern California bribed thousands of dollars to hire high school applicants as recruiters.
Defendant, Joan Wawick, is the only coach to stand trial at the federal trial rather than be charged. Operation Varsity BluesIn which rich parents bribed their children to enroll in elite schools.
Mr. Wawick was a star at USC, leading the men’s and women’s water polo teams to 16 national championships. During the trial, his lawyers argued that he was under pressure from the university’s fundraising culture to appoint athletes whose families could make large donations, but he wanted them to be real athletes.
After half a day of deliberations, the arbitral tribunal in Boston rejected those arguments. Wawick sided with lawyers claiming he received a $ 200,000 bribe from William Singer, also known as Rick, a wealthy college admission adviser. Facilitates the recruitment of certified athletes.
Mr. Vavik was found guilty of all charges, including postal and wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe federal government schemes.
Mr. who cooperates with the government. Singer described himself as a “hospitality” consultant for wealthy families, and boasted that they could enroll their children in universities with the best brand names in the country.
During interrogation, Mr Vavik’s lawyers said he had not misappropriated or swindled any money. They said about $ 100,000 had been deposited in a USC account for the water polo team. Another $ 120,000 went to private school education for his sons, and the money they claimed went to Mr. The grant came from Singer’s Foundation. Prosecutors say the trust is a way to get bribes.
The federal government’s serious investigation has exposed the dirty abdomen of college admissions. Federal Attorneys, a Canyon College consultant – Mr. Singer – said he was able to handle the priority given to athletes recruited for ineligible students. However, prosecutors cautioned that the universities involved were not being investigated and that they were unknowingly victims of fraud.
Mr. The jury in Wawick’s case seems to agree with the government’s argument that the lawsuit was not about donating a building or a large sum of money to the university, but about lying and cheating on a college application.
In a separate section of the investigation, investigators found that Mr. Singer accused parents of bribing doctors to standardize their children’s standardized test scores. Establish its own agents.
Key figures from “Operation Varsity Blues”
More than 50 were prosecuted. In 2019, it became known as a federal investigation Operation Varsity Blues One of dozens of parents, coaches and exam administrators Extensive college admission program This includes athletic programs at the University of Southern California, Yale, Stanford and other schools.
The USC has worked to tarnish the reputation of being a “bad kid’s university,” which was the focus of the investigation, which fired Mr Wawick in March 2019 after his arrest.
But the investigation has trapped dozens of parents, coaches, selection administrators and others in a program that includes college athletic programs not only in the USC but also in Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest and Georgetown. Most of the athlete officers and parents involved in the project pleaded guilty instead of using their opportunities at trial.
Actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman have already completed their prison sentences. John Wilson, a former executive at Staples & Cape and founder of a real estate and private equity firm, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, the longest sentence ever. Mr. Mr. Wilson’s son to join water polo team. Vavik helped.
Susan c. Beach Research contributed.
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