A tip that the women’s soccer coach at Yale University offered to label an executive’s daughter as a recruit in exchange for cash led to the discovery of the largest school admissions scandal ever prosecuted, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.
The executive had already been targeted in a securities fraud investigation, an anonymous law enforcement official said, according to the report. The executive told Boston authorities who were working on the market fraud case that Rudy Meredith, the former women’s soccer coach at Yale University in Connecticut, told him he would identify his daughter as a recruit in exchange for cash.
The AP report continued:
Investigators recorded a meeting between the executive and the coach at a Boston hotel room in April 2018. During the meeting, which is described in court documents, authorities say Rudy Meredith told the father he would help his daughter get into Yale in exchange for $450,000. Meredith accepted $2,000 in cash in the hotel room and gave the executive directions about how to wire the rest of the money, authorities say.
Meredith began cooperating with the investigation that same month in the hopes of getting a lesser sentence, prosecutors say in court documents. Meredith, who resigned from Yale in November, has agreed to plead guilty to charges including wire fraud. A message was left Thursday on Meredith’s phone.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged among at least 33 parents and nine athletic coaches in the admissions scandal. Authorities believe, however, that even more parents are involved.
According to the report, parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and as much as $6.5 million to assure their children’s admission to the schools.
Some of the parents, prominent in the fields of law, finance, fashion, and others, paid William “Rick” Singer, an “admissions consultant,” to bribe school administrators and coaches to make it appear their children were viewed as accomplished athletes in order to gain admission to the schools.
Additionally, Singer “hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students, and paid off insiders at testing centers to correct students’ answers, authorities say,” AP reported.
Singer pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges Tuesday in Boston.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called the college admissions scheme “disgraceful” and said while the Justice Department is leading the federal government’s case, her department is investigating whether those participating in the scandal violated any federal education regulations.
Both the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts and the IRS are investigating the scandal.
AP reported Wednesday the University of Southern California said it will block the admissions of about six student applications that are connected to a firm indicted in the scandal.