Chinese Woman Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

(Bloomberg) -- A Chinese woman admitted agreeing to pay $400,000 in bribes to get her son into the University of California at Los Angeles, becoming the 21st parent to plead guilty in the U.S. college admissions scandal.

Xiaoning Sui, 49, appeared Friday in federal court in Boston and pleaded to a single count of federal programs bribery. A resident of British Columbia, she had been held in a jail in Spain since being arrested while on vacation there in October, and federal prosecutors agreed to recommend she be sentenced to time served.

Sui was released on $250,000 bond. Her attorney Martin Weinberg told the court she plans to return home to Canada Friday night. U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock set her sentencing date for May 19.

More than 50 people, including 36 parents, have been charged in the nationwide scheme orchestrated by corrupt college consultant Rick Singer. In many of the cases, Singer arranged bribes to college coaches who fraudulently designated his clients’ children athletic recruits worthy of preferential admission.

Sui paid to have her son designated a soccer recruit by former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, according to prosecutors.

‘Quickness and Speed’

“Salcedo falsely wrote that he saw the defendant’s son play soccer in China,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said in court Friday, noting the coach praised the applicant’s “quickness and speed.”

Sui’s son was admitted to UCLA and also offered an athletic scholarship for a quarter of his tuition. It’s unclear if he ever actually enrolled.

Salcedo, who allegedly received $100,000 of Sui’s money, has plead not guilty to racketeering.

In the indictment, prosecutors noted that Sui was first connected to Singer through an unnamed Florida “tennis recruiter” who specialized in matching high school tennis players with college tennis coaches.

Singer had the son’s tennis profile turned into a fake soccer one by former University of Southern California assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke. Former USC women’s soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin then passed it to Salcedo. Both Janke and Khosroshahin have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.

Trials for 15 other parents still fighting the charges, including actor Lori Loughlin and her husband Massimo Giannulli, could begin in October.

The case is US v. Xiaoning Sui, 19-cr-10082, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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