College admissions scam: Ex-USC soccer coach to plead guilty and cooperate in investigation
A former USC soccer coach will plead guilty and cooperate with the investigation that implicated him in a college admissions scheme that sneaked the children of wealthy families into top universities by using fake athletic credentials and bribes, according to court documents filed Monday.
Ali Khosroshahin, who led USC’s women’s soccer program from 2007 to 2013, will plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy by June 30.
Khosroshahin and his assistant coach at USC, Laura Janke, were paid more than $350,000 to designate as recruited soccer players four children whose parents were clients of Newport Beach college consultant William “Rick” Singer, according to an indictment charging Khosroshahin, Janke and 10 others with racketeering conspiracy in March. Singer is the admitted mastermind of the scheme.
None of the four recruits played soccer competitively, prosecutors said.
Khosroshahin and Janke also served as a conduit between Singer and coaches at other schools, according to the indictment, with Khosroshahin helping in 2016 to facilitate a “side door” deal — Singer’s term for the athletic recruiting fraud — at UCLA.
Janke has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators. Singer has pleaded guilty to four felonies. He has cooperated extensively, calling dozens of his former clients and, with the FBI listening in, recounting with them tests he allegedly fixed and bribes he allegedly paid on their behalf. Both are awaiting sentencing.
Khosroshahin has signed a cooperation deal, indicating he has furnished or promised to furnish new information to prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts, who unraveled Singer’s scheme and are continuing to follow its tendrils.
Khosroshahin had pleaded not guilty after his March 12 arrest, but his plea agreement shows he engaged with investigators as early as April 22. He signed a proffer letter that day, an agreement that allowed him to share what he knew of Singer’s scheme without incriminating himself further.
Prosecutors extended Khosroshahin a plea agreement and cooperation deal on May 15; he signed both Monday.
A recommendation will be made that Khosroshahin be sentenced at the low end of guidelines that call for 46 to 57 months in prison, according to his plea agreement and federal sentencing guidelines. His attorneys, however, have reserved the right to argue that his sentence should be calculated at a slightly lower range.
If prosecutors decide Khosroshahin gave them useful information, they can recommend he be sentenced below the range laid out in his plea deal.
Khosroshahin also will forfeit $208,990, a sum “equal to the amount of proceeds” reaped from his role in the scheme, his plea agreement says.
Under a special condition of his plea, Khosroshahin has agreed to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service, file accurate tax returns and make a “good faith effort” to pay what taxes, penalties and interest he owes.
Khosroshahin arrived at USC after leading Cal State Fullerton’s women’s soccer program for six seasons. He won a national title in his first year at USC, the first in program history.
On the eve of the national championship match, The Times praised his leadership, saying the first-year coach “gave players a sense of discipline and the drive to do things for the reward of doing them well, not just to be done.”
Khosroshahin was fired in 2013. In his last three seasons, his teams lost more games than they won, and Pat Haden, then athletic director, said USC needed to “reinvigorate our program and get back to contending for NCAA and conference championships.”
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