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An ex-UCLA coach has been sentenced to eight months in jail for defrauding the university’s admissions process.

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An ex-UCLA coach has been sentenced to eight months in jail for defrauding the university's admissions process.
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An ex-UCLA coach has been sentenced to eight months in jail for defrauding the university's admissions process.

An ex-UCLA coach has been sentenced to eight months in jail for defrauding the university’s admissions process.

 

A former men’s soccer coach at the University of California, Los Angeles was sentenced to eight months in prison on Friday for taking $200,000 in bribes to help students get into the school as phony athletes.

Jorge Salcedo told the judge that he got involved in the college admissions bribery scheme because he wanted money after his family purchased a house they couldn’t afford. Salcedo claimed that he assumes full responsibility for his acts, which he says have ruined his life.

During a videoconference hearing, Salcedo said, “I am a better man than I was two years ago, and I will never make mistakes like this again.”

Salcedo’s sentence is one of the longest so far in the “Operation Varsity Blues” case, which exposed a scheme in 2019 to get wealthy parents’ children into prestigious universities using forged athletic certificates or fraudulent test scores.

Salcedo took “what appeared to be the easy way” to overcome his financial issues, according to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani, who added that “it encourages the logic that if this hadn’t been stopped, it would have proceeded.”

Authorities say Salcedo was paid $100,000 by the admissions consultant at the core of the scam to help a California couple, Bruce and Davina Isackson, get their daughter into UCLA as a phony soccer recruit. Prosecutors say Salcedo pressured women’s coaches to hire her and then made up a lie when school enforcement officials asked about her soccer history.

The Isacksons have entered a guilty plea.

According to authorities, Salcedo took another $100,000 bribe from consultant Rick Singer in order to hire the son of Xiaoning Sui of Surrey, British Columbia, to his squad. According to authorities, Salcedo submitted paperwork granting him a 25% scholarship because he knew scholarship recruits were subjected to less scrutiny.

Sui was sentenced to time served last year after being arrested and spending five months in a Spanish jail.

Singer, who has also pleaded guilty, taped his conversations with parents and coaches and is likely to be the prosecution’s star witness if the case goes to trial.

According to prosecutors, Salcedo attempted to hire another student, but the student decided to attend a different school.

Prosecutors had requested 18 months in prison, citing the fact that Salcedo kept the $200,000 for himself rather than his squad, and that he participated in the scheme several times.

Assistant US Attorney Kristen Kearney said, “Mr. Salcedo has proven that he is a perpetual liar.”

Salcedo is the third coach to be convicted in this case so far. Michael Center, a tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin, was sentenced to six months in jail, while ex-Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer was sentenced to one day in prison, which he had already served.

TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as Loughlin’s fashion designer partner, Mossimo Giannulli, have all pleaded guilty in the case. The parents’ sentences have ranged from a few weeks to nine months.

After serving five months in jail for paying half a million dollars to get his daughters into the University of Southern California, Giannulli is set to be released in April. Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison and Huffman to two weeks. Huffman admitted to paying $15,000 for her daughter’s entrance exam score to be rigged.

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