Former Athletics Official at USC Pleads Guilty | Inside Higher Ed

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A former senior associate athletics director at the University of Southern California pleaded guilty Friday in connection with a scheme to admit students as purported athletic recruits in exchange for money.

Donna Heinel pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud.

A statement from the Justice Department said, “Heinel solicited and received bribe payments from Rick Singer and his clients to facilitate their children’s admission to USC as athletic recruits. Specifically, Heinel presented athletic profiles to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions, presenting the students as legitimate recruits to USC’s athletic teams when in fact they were not. Heinel did so in exchange for payments, including to university athletic accounts she designated, without disclosing that fact to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions.”

Court records indicate that prosecutors said Singer’s clients made payments of more than $1.3 million into USC accounts controlled by Heinel over a four-year period.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 11, 2022. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the government will recommend a prison sentence within the sentencing guideline range, a fine within the sentencing guidelines range and two years of supervised release.

Honest services wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, although Heinel is not expected to receive the maximum sentence.

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