A Judge Handed Down The First Sentence In The College Admissions Scandal
CNN reports that former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer has been sentenced to two years supervised release for his role in the college admissions scandal. The former Stanford coach's college admissions scam sentence is the first to be issued in connection with the wide-reaching scandal, which was first revealed in March.
Vandemoer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering for coordinating two bribes of $110,000 and $160,000, respectively, to the university's sailing program, CNN reports; in exchange, Vandemoer designated two applicants to Stanford, neither of which had any sailing experience, as sailing recruits. Officials from the university said that neither of those students completed the admissions process, however.
"His actions not only deceived and defrauded the university that employed him, but also validated a national cynicism over college admissions by helping wealthy and unscrupulous applicants enjoy an unjust advantage over those who either lack deep pockets or are simply unwilling to cheat to get ahead," Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen wrote in a sentencing memorandum, according to CNN.
Vandemoer is just one of 50 people who were indicted in connection with the college admissions scandal, in which the parents of applicants to several prestigious schools are accused of paying large sums of money to various school administrators in exchange for giving their children preferential treatment in the admissions process.
According to the Justice Department, a man named William Singer was at the center of the admission scandal. He was changed with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of justice. He pleaded guilty to all charges in March.
“Everything that Mr. Rosen stated is exactly true," Singer said in court in March, according to the New York Times. "All of those things, plus many more things, I did."
Singer said that, through a college counseling company that he ran, he accepted large payments from wealthy parents in exchange for engineering the admission of their children to the schools in question. In some instances, Singer bribed college coaches to claim that the students in question were elite athletes; in others, he paid proctors to correct students' answers on the SAT.
Prosectors had asked U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel to give Vandemoer 13 months in prison. Zobel ultimately only gave Vandemoer a one-day sentence, but she deemed that it had already been served, so he was effectively given no new prison time. Zobel did, however, sentence Vandemoer to six months home confinement with an electronic monitoring device, Fox News reports, and fined him $10,000.
"Mr Vandemoer is probably the least culpable," Zobel said during sentencing, according to CNN. "[The other indictees] took money for themselves. He did not do that. All the money he took went directly to the sailing program."
In a memo to the judge, Vandemoer's lawyer Robert Fisher said that his client accepts full responsibility for his actions and is looking forward to moving on.
"Mr. Vandemoer failed in one instance to live up to the high expectations he sets for himself," Fisher wrote. "He fully accepts responsibility for his mistake. Mr. Vandemoer is determined to make amends for this mistake move on with his life and continue to provide for his family."