College admissions scandal: key cooperating witnesses signed plea agreements



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Riddell and Meredith represent the two strands at the heart of the scheme: cheating on standardized tests and bribing college coaches to falsely classify a candidate as a recruited athlete, thus paving the way for admission.

Meredith, a former women's football coach at Yale University, admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for nominating potential students as football team rookies, in accordance with the plea agreement.

Riddell, former director of exam preparation for college entrance to the IMG Academy, a preparatory school at a private college in Florida, admitted that he had passed tests instead of students , provided answers to their tests and corrected answers once the students had completed their exams, according to the plea agreement. . IMG has suspended it indefinitely.

Both are part of the spate of academic admission scandal that prosecutors revealed two weeks ago, accusing 50 people, including 33 wealthy parents, of having organized a scheme to smuggle in. students in prestigious universities.

The brain of this scheme, Rick Singer, also cooperates with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty on March 12 to a federal court for racketeering, conspiracy to launder money, plotting fraud in the United States and obstructing justice.
Meredith was the first of three to start cooperating after being caught in an FBI attack soliciting a parent's bribe in return for his help so that his daughter would be admitted to Yale as a Athlete, according to court documents.
According to documents, parents of an unnamed applicant would have paid Singer $ 1.2 million to facilitate her admission to Yale. The documents indicate that Meredith received $ 400,000 in exchange for the designation of the student as a recruited football player. Yale announced Monday that he was canceling the student's admission following the scandal.

What does advocacy say

In exchange for Meredith's guilty plea under a conspiracy charge in order to commit an honest service wire fraud and an honest service wire fraud leader, the government recommends that he be sentenced to a prison sentence with a minimum of sentence and a probationary release of 36 months, according to the government. to the plea agreement.

The government is also seeking $ 866,000 in confiscations, consisting of lump sums of $ 308,225.61 and $ 557,774.39, which corresponds to the amount obtained by Meredith as a result of his crimes.

He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison. He agreed to testify if necessary.

The brain. The brains. L & # 39; coach. Get to know the witnesses who cooperated with the college admissions scam

In addition, Meredith has signed a sealed cooperation agreement that does not replace the plea agreement and describes the "substantial assistance" that he has provided to US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.

Meredith signed a professionalization agreement on May 2, 2018 and has been cooperating ever since. His lawyer did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

In exchange for Riddell 's guilty plea under a charge of conspiracy to commit postal fraud and honest services and a charge of conspiracy to commit an act of money laundering. money, the government recommends a very low prison sentence, says the plea contract.

The government is also recommending a fine at the end of the sentencing guidelines, a 36-month probation release, and a $ 239,449.42 fine, which is roughly the same as the amount Riddell earned from his crimes.

According to court documents, Riddell was generally paid about $ 10,000 per test.

He had been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Riddell's lawyer made no comment on the plea agreement dated February 18.

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