Ex-Pimco Chief Will Plead Guilty in College Scandal
(Bloomberg) -- Douglas Hodge, the former Pimco chief accused of using a middleman to cheat his kids’ way into elite colleges, will plead guilty, according to prosecutors.
Hodge, who once led the giant bond manager Pacific Investment Management Co., is accused of bribing sports coaches at the University of Southern California and Georgetown University. He is one of 35 parents charged in the nationwide scandal.
Brien O’Connor, his lawyer, didn’t immediately return a voicemail and email seeking comment about the announcement by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in Boston.
The guilty plea is set for Oct. 21.
Hodge worked with the scheme’s matermind, Rick Singer, to get his eldest daughter into Georgetown as a tennis recruit and then paid $200,000 to fabricate a profile of a younger daughter as a champion soccer player to get her into USC, prosecutors say. He later paid $250,000 to help his younger son gain admission to USC as a football recruit, according to court filings.
At a hearing in July, Hodge offered a glimmer of his defense -- that the payments he made to a nonprofit foundation run by Singer were just like large donations he’d made over the years to support higher education, long before his kids applied to college.
“It was entirely consistent,” O’Connor told the court at the time.
Singer, who pleaded guilty to the cash-for-college racket, ushered the children of wealthy clients into top schools by fixing their entrance exam scores, creating fake sports profiles to get them admitted as recruited athletes, or both. Cooperating in the government’s investigation, he made secret recordings of conversations he had with parents long after they hired him.
“I know what I did, which is I donated to your foundation,” Hodge told Singer over the phone in November, according to an FBI transcript. “That foundation has -- its stated mission is to help underserved kids basically get into -- you know, through -- get through college. And that’s all I’m going to say.”
But earlier in the call, according to the transcript, he told Singer: “We don’t have to talk in code. We know how this works.”
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