California parent sentenced to 6 weeks in college admissions scheme | #College. | #Students


A California parent who agreed to pay $100,000 to help get his daughter into a university as part of a sweeping admissions scheme was sentenced to six weeks in prison Wednesday, according to federal prosecutors.




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Homayoun Zadeh, 60, pleaded guilty in June to one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors said Zadeh lied on his taxes about the money he paid to help get his daughter into the University of Southern California.

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A request for comment from Zadeh’s attorney was not immediately returned late Wednesday.

He was one of dozens of parents charged in the cheating scheme masterminded by William “Rick” Singer, which was taken down in an FBI investigation dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”

Singer pleaded guilty after charges were announced against more than 50 people in March 2019. He became a “cooperating witness” during the investigation and helped bring down his enterprise.

In the overall scheme, wealthy parents paid to have their children’s test scores boosted or to have them falsely recruited as student athletes, or both. The money would be paid to a sham charity, and then used for bribes.

Zadeh agreed to pay $100,000 to Singer’s sham charity, prosecutors said. He then deducted those payments from his taxes, despite knowing it wasn’t for charity.

His daughter was falsely presented as a lacrosse player, using a fake profile, according to a criminal complaint.

Zadeh’s attorney wrote in court papers ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing that Zadeh did not know about the fake profile or lacrosse claims ahead of time.

Prosecutors said Zadeh was told later in a recorded call when Singer brought up the fake profile.

Prosecutors also wrote that at one point in the admissions process Zadeh’s daughter pushed back on going to USC, and Zadeh texted Singer that he had “not shared anything about our arrangement but somehow she senses it.”

Zadeh’s daughter was not involved in the scheme, prosecutors said.

In addition to the six weeks in prison, Zadeh was sentenced to one year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, $8,414 in restitution and a $20,000 fine.

Among the parents who have pleaded guilty and served prison sentences were actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Loughlin’s clothing designer husband Mossimo Giannulli.

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