A Surrey mom is the latest parent to be charged in a U.S. college admissions scandal that saw large sums of money allegedly exchanged for false acceptance offers.
Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain and remains there in custody after being charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Extradition proceedings have been launched to bring Sui to Boston to face the charges.
Sui allegedly agreed to pay US$400,000 to William “Rick” Singer to have her son admitted to UCLA under the guise of being a soccer recruit. Singer, a Newport Beach college consultant, is then alleged to have paid a bribe to Jorge Salcedo, the head coach of the UCLA men’s soccer program.
Singer has been called the mastermind of the admissions scam, and pleaded guilty in June to charges of racketeering, money laundering, fraud and obstruction, while Salcedo was charged with racketeering conspiracy, but pleaded not guilty.
According to court documents Sui and Singer spoke about the scheme in August 2018 and over the course of two months, Sui shared her son’s transcript and photographs with Singer. Singer’s co-conspirator Laura Janke then created a fake soccer profile for Sui’s son, describing him as having played for two top private soccer clubs in Canada.
In late October, Sui then wired US$100,000 to a Massachusetts bank account, addressed to a charitable foundation headed by Singer. Just over a week later, Sui’s son was admitted as a soccer player and received a 25 per cent scholarship.
Three months later, Sui allegedly wired another US$300,000 to Singer’s foundation, as a final payment.
In March, Vancouver businessman and former CFL player David Sidoo was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the far-reaching FBI investigation. Sidoo is accused of making two separate US$100,000 payments to have others take college entrance exams in place of his two sons.
Other high-profile parents charged in the case include Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 days in jail, beginning on Oct. 25, one year of probation, a US$30,000 fine and community service, while Loughlin rejected a plea deal last spring and pleaded not guilty.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019