College admissions scandal: Donna Heinel, a former USC athletics official, pleads guilty to a fraud charge

Donna Heinel, who was USC’s senior affiliate athletic director, pleaded responsible to at least one depend of sincere companies wire fraud as a part of a plea settlement, prosecutors mentioned in a information launch Friday.

“She did the honorable factor and took duty for her actions at the moment,” Nina Marino, Heinel’s legal professional, instructed CNN in a telephone interview.

College admissions scandal: Abdelaziz and Wilson are first parents to be found guilty

Heinel is one in every of two USC athletic administrators alleged to have been concerned in a racketeering conspiracy to cheat potential college students’ admission into the college. She was fired in March 2019 over her alleged function within the scheme.

A minimum of 50 folks — together with Hollywood stars, prime CEOs, faculty coaches and standardized take a look at directors — have been accused of collaborating within the scheme to cheat on assessments and admit college students to main establishments as athletes, no matter their skills.

William Rick Singer, the plot’s accused mastermind, allegedly instructed potential purchasers that he created a “aspect door” for rich households to get their kids into prime US schools. Singer was paid roughly $25 million by dad and mom to assist their kids get into the colleges, the US legal professional mentioned.

Proof in opposition to Heinel included an audio recording through which Singer might be heard saying, “Donna Heinel at USC to assist Audrey get in by crew.” One other recording factors to Singer highlighting Heinel’s capacity to assist one other pupil get into USC.

Heinel’s identify was additionally talked about a number of occasions in audio that was used as proof within the trials of two separate dad and mom, John Wilson and Gamal Abdelaziz, who paid Singer a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} to get their kids into prestigious universities together with USC, Stanford and Harvard, courtroom information present.

A federal jury last month discovered Abdelaziz and Wilson responsible of all accusations, which included numerous fraud and bribery fees.

The sincere companies wire fraud cost in opposition to Heinel can carry a sentence of as much as 20 years in jail. She’s scheduled to seem in courtroom for sentencing on March 11.

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