LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Bay Area couple accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to get their two daughters admitted into UCLA and USC as student-athletes are expected to plead guilty in the nationwide college admissions scandal.
Bruce Isackson, 61, and his wife Davina Isackson, 55, the parents of UCLA soccer player Lauren Isackson, confirmed to CBS News Monday in a statement that the couple plan to plead guilty.
The couple from Hillsborough, Calif., are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Isackson will also plead guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS.
The Department of Justice announced Monday that the Isacksons are among 14 people, including actress Felicity Huffman, who are pleading guilty in the admissions scandal.
“No words can express how profoundly sorry we are for what we have done,” the couple said in a statement. “Our duty as parents was to set a good example for our children and instead we have harmed and embarrassed them by our misguided decisions. We have also let down our family, friends, colleagues and our entire community. We have worked cooperatively with the prosecutors and will continue to do so as we take full responsibility for our bad judgment.”
Bruce Isackson is the president of a real estate development firm.
According to the federal complaint, the Isackson parents paid Newport Beach-based businessman Rick Singer — the mastermind behind the admissions bribery scheme — 2,150 shares of Facebook valued at around $251,000, to create a fake profile for Lauren in order to get her onto the UCLA soccer team.
The money was transferred as a donation to Singer’s Key World Foundation nonprofit, the complaint states.
Singer received help from Ali Khosroshahin, former USC head women’s soccer coach, and Jorge Salcedo, the UCLA men’s soccer coach who resigned after the scandal was revealed. For their parts, in July 2016, Singer paid Salcedo $100,000 and Khosroshahin $25,000, according to the complaint.
Lauren began attending UCLA in the fall of 2016. According to the Los Angeles Times, Isackson actually played on the practice squad. A UCLA spokesperson told the Times last month that Lauren is no longer on the team, but is still a student at the school.
Head UCLA women’s soccer coach Amanda Cromwell has so far not been charged in the scandal. The only UCLA employee charged so far is Salcedo.
In January 2017, Singer then began helping the Isacksons get their second daughter admitted into USC by assisting her in cheating on her ACT exam and getting her onto the USC crew team, even though she had never rowed crew, but was actually an equestrian, the complaint reads.
With the assistance of Donna Heinel, USC’s now fired senior associate athletic director, Singer created a fake profile, and she was admitted to USC as a student-athlete in December 2017.
For that work, the Isacksons transferred Singer another $101,000 in June 2017 and $249,000 in April 2018. The identity of their second daughter has not been disclosed.
The Isacksons were supposedly planning to use Ringer’s services again to help bribe their third daughter’s way into an elite school. According to the complaint, in a wiretapped phone call in December of 2018, Bruce Isackson told Singer they should use cash to help in their third daughter’s exam cheating scheme.
“I think we’ll definitely pay cash this time, and not, not– not run it through the other way,” Isackson allegedly said.
On March 12, the FBI charged 50 people in a massive bribery scheme in which wealthy families paid millions to Singer to help their children cheat on standardized tests and bribe test administrators and college coaches to help get their kids into top universities like UCLA, USC, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown. Among the parents charged were Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.