Ex-Yale coach receives 5 months in prison in college admissions scandal

Ex-Yale coach receives 5 months in prison in college admissions scandal

BOSTON: A former Yale University women’s soccer coach who cooperated with authorities investigating the US college admissions scandal was sentenced on Wednesday (Nov 9) to five months in prison for accepting bribes to help parents get their children into the Ivy League school.

Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, whose decision to cooperate helped investigators discover the mastermind of the wide-ranging scheme, was sentenced by US District Judge Mark Wolf in Boston after pleading guilty in 2019 to conspiracy and fraud charges.

The prison sentence Wolf ordered came despite prosecutors’ recommending Meredith, 54, receive a non-custodian punishment after becoming a key witness in the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation.

Meredith’s lawyers in court papers said he assisted law enforcement to “atone for his inexcusable lapses of judgment”. He must also pay a US$19,000 fine and forfeit more than US$557,000.

The investigation centred on William “Rick” Singer, a California college admissions consultant who admitted in 2019 to facilitating college entrance exam cheating and bribing coaches to secure his clients’ children’s admission as phoney athletes.

The investigation led 51 people to plead guilty, including actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, two of the many wealthy parents Singer counted as clients. Singer faces sentencing in January.

Two parents were convicted in one trial, while another was acquitted in June. A federal judge in September ordered a new trial for a former University of Southern California water polo coach convicted of accepting bribes.

Prosecutors said Meredith from 2015 and 2018 accepted US$860,000 from Singer in exchange for designating the children of wealthy parents as soccer recruits or attempting to facilitate their admission to New Haven, Connecticut-based Yale by other means.

Separately, Meredith also agreed to accept a US$450,000 bribe directly from a California businessman without Singer’s involvement to help his daughter gain admission.

An unrelated stock fraud investigation involving that businessman led prosecutors to learn about Meredith, who in turn helped them uncover Singer’s vast scheme.

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