Former USC athletic official pleads guilty ahead of U.S. college scam trial

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BOSTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – A former senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern California pleaded guilty on Friday to participating in a vast fraud and bribery scheme that allowed wealthy parents’ children to gain admission to colleges as fake sports recruits.

Donna Heinel, 60, had been set to go before a federal jury in Boston later this month in the second trial to arise from the U.S. college admissions scandal. She instead pleaded guilty to committing honest services wire fraud.

Heinel admitted she submitted information to a USC admissions committee from the scheme’s mastermind, college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, about students that misled it into believing their applications came from coaches.

She did so from 2015 to 2019 in exchange for payments from Singer’s clients to USC accounts she professionally benefited from.

Heinel agreed not to appeal any prison sentence of 46 months or less. She is slated to be…

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