The chief executive of a liquor distribution company charged in the U.S. college admissions scandal has agreed to plead guilty to paying $500,000 to secure his son's admission to the University of Southern California (USC) as a fake football recruit.
Marci Palatella, 66, had been scheduled to go to trial in September in Boston alongside two other wealthy parents charged with participating in the vast college admissions cheating and fraud scheme.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday said she will instead plead guilty to conspiring to commit honest services mail fraud under a plea deal that calls for her to spend six weeks in prison plus six months of home confinement.
The Hillsborough, California, resident also agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
Palatella is one of 57 people charged over a scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with California college admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer to fraudulently secure college placement for their children.
Singer pleaded guilty in 2019 to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of students to colleges as fake athletic recruits.
Prosecutors said Palatella agreed with Singer and others in 2017 to pay $500,000 to facilitate her son's admission to USC as a football recruit, despite the fact that he would not actually play on the school's football team.
Prosecutors previously alleged that some of that money was used to bribe a USC athletics official.
Thirty-two other parents have pleaded guilty, including "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman and "Full House" star Lori Loughlin.
Several others continue to fight the charges, including the two set to face trial on Sept. 13, Gamal Abdelaziz, the former president of Wynn Resorts Ltd's Macau subsidiary, and private equity executive John Wilson. They have pleaded not guilty. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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