Second parent gets four-month jail sentence in US college scandal

Devin Sloane was also ordered to pay a US$95,000 (S$131,000) fine and perform 500 hours of community service for his role in the fraud scheme. PHOTO: AP

ATLANTA (REUTERS) - A California businessman was sentenced to four months in prison for paying bribes to get his son into a prestigious university, media reported on Tuesday (Sept 24), the second parent jailed in a United States college admissions cheating scandal.

A Boston judge also ordered Devin Sloane, 53, to pay a US$95,000 (S$131,000) fine and perform 500 hours of community service for his role in the fraud scheme, National Public Radio and the Boston Globe reported.

"There are no words to justify my behaviour," Sloane said in a brief statement to the court, the New York Times reported, adding that he said he wanted to do what was best for his son.

His attorney was not available for comment early on Wednesday.

Sloane pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, media reported.

To secure his son's admission to the University of Southern California, Sloane paid US$250,000 in a scheme to pass his son off as a water polo player, media reported.

His sentence was more severe than the 14-day prison term given to Emmy-award winning actress Felicity Huffman this month for paying to rig her daughter's entrance exam.

Huffman, the first parent sentenced in the scandal, was also fined US$30,000 and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

More than 50 people have been charged in a vast scheme in which wealthy parents were accused of conspiring to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure for their children admission to prominent US universities.

The schools included Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas and Wake Forest.

William "Rick" Singer, a California college admissions consultant, pleaded guilty in March to charges that he facilitated the cheating and helped bribe university sports coaches to present clients' children as fake athletic recruits.

Fifteen parents have pleaded guilty in the bribery scandal that FBI investigators call Operation Varsity Blues.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.