LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A Los Angeles business executive whose son attended the private Buckley School in Sherman Oaks was sentenced Tuesday to four months in federal prison for paying a quarter-million-dollar bribe to get his son admitted to USC as a fake water polo recruit, part of the nationwide college admissions scandal which netted dozens of arrests.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, 53-year-old Devin Sloane pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
A federal judge in Boston sentenced Sloane to four months in prison, two years of supervised release and 500 hours of community service. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $95,000.
Prosecutors had recommended he be sentenced to one year in prison and one year of supervised release.
Authorities say Sloane helped fabricate documents depicting his son as an international water polo star even though he had never played the sport. He bought water polo gear online, investigators found, and staged action photos of his son in the family’s swimming pool.
Sloane is a graduate of USC and founder of the L.A. water systems company AquaTecture.
“There are no words to justify my behavior nor will I offer any excuses or justification,” he said with tears in his eyes during Tuesday’s sentencing. “The crime I committed is unacceptable. … In my heart and my soul I want what’s best for my son. I realize now my actions were the antithesis of that.”
According to a report in Vanity Fair earlier this summer, it was a guidance counselor at the Buckley School who uncovered a serious lie on a female student’s college applications back in December 2017 that was later linked to Rick Singer of Newport Beach, the mastermind behind the college admissions scandal.
Sloane is the second parent to be sentenced in the scandal. Last week, actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying a $15,000 bribe to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.
On March 12, the FBI charged 51 people — including 33 parents and nine coaches — 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. Along with Huffman, actress Lori Loughlin was also charged.
However, Loughlin is among 19 parents who are fighting the allegations. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges in the scandal and are awaiting trial. They are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes so their two daughters would be designated as recruits to the USC crew team, even though neither ever rowed crew. Both daughters are still enrolled at USC, but have not attended class since the scandal broke.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)