Businessman sentenced to 4 months in college admissions scandal

A Los Angeles business executive was sentenced Tuesday to four months in federal prison for paying a $250,000 bribe to get his son admitted to the University of Southern California (USC) as a fake water polo recruit, CBS Los Angeles reports. A federal judge in Boston sentenced Devin Sloane to four months in prison, two years of supervised release and 500 hours of community service.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of $95,000.

According to a press release from the Justice Department, “Sloane conspired with William ‘Rick’ Singer and others to have his son admitted to USC as a water polo recruit, even though his son did not play water polo … Sloane also made a purported contribution of $250,000 to Singer’s sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, with the intention that the money be used to bribe USC officials to facilitate the fraud.”

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The case is part of the nationwide college admissions scandal which netted dozens of arrests. As part of a deal with prosecutors, the 53-year-old  pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Prosecutors had recommended he be sentenced to one year in prison and one year of supervised release.

Devin Sloane, middle, leaves federal court after his sentencing in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, in Boston. AP

Authorities say Sloane helped fabricate documents depicting his son as an international water polo star even though he had never played the sport. He bought water polo gear online, investigators found, and staged action photos of his son in the family’s swimming pool.

Sloane is a graduate of USC and founder of the L.A. water systems company AquaTecture.

“There are no words to justify my behavior nor will I offer any excuses or justification,” he said with tears in his eyes during Tuesday’s sentencing. “The crime I committed is unacceptable… In my heart and my soul I want what’s best for my son. I realize now my actions were the antithesis of that.”

Sloane is the second parent to be sentenced in the scandal. Last week, actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying a $15,000 bribe to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.

On March 12, the FBI charged 51 people — including 33 parents and nine coaches — in a massive bribery scheme in which wealthy families paid millions to Smith and others to help their children cheat on standardized tests and bribe test administrators and college coaches to help get their kids into top universities.

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