Calabasas father gets 6 weeks in prison in USC admissions scandal

Tommy Trojan stands guard over a quiet University of Southern California
A father was accused of agreeing to pay $100,000 to help his daughter get into the University of Southern California.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A California parent was sentenced Wednesday to six weeks in prison and 250 hours of community service in connection with the sweeping college admissions scandal.

Homayoun Zadeh, 60, of Calabasas was also ordered to pay more than $8,000 in restitution and a $20,000 fine in Boston federal court. He pleaded guilty in July to one count of filing a false tax return as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. He’ll report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Dec. 7.

Zadeh was among 50 wealthy parents, athletic coaches and others arrested in March 2019 in the case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The scheme led by an admissions consultant, Rick Singer, involved rigging test scores and paying off sports coaches to help students get into top universities across the country, prosecutors say.

Donna Heinel, a former USC athletics department administrator, pleads guilty in the college admissions bribery scandal.


Zadeh was accused of agreeing to pay $100,000 to help his daughter get into the University of Southern California as a lacrosse recruit even though she didn’t play the sport.

Prosecutors say Zadeh, who had been a dentistry professor at USC at the time, deducted the payments he made to Singer’s bogus charitable foundation from his taxes as a charitable gift even though he knew the payments were designed to facilitate his daughter’s admission to the school.

Under the plea deal accepted by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton on Wednesday, prosecutors agreed to dismiss more serious charges against Zadeh, including conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and money laundering conspiracy.

Zadeh’s lawyers and USC didn’t respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday.

Zadeh is among 28 parents so far sentenced in the case, including TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.