USC soccer coach, another parent to plead guilty in college admissions scandal

Assistant soccer coach Laura Janke and former insurance title executive Toby MacFarlane will cooperate with the investigation, prosecutors said.
Image: Toby MacFarlane departs federal court in Boston after facing charges in a college admissions bribery scandal on April 3, 2019.
Toby MacFarlane departs federal court in Boston after facing charges in a college admissions bribery scandal on April 3, 2019.Michael Dwyer / AP file

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By David K. Li and Ezra Kaplan

Two more defendants in the college admissions scandal — a former University of Southern California soccer coach and a parent — have agreed to plead guilty and help with the investigation, according to federal prosecutors and court documents filed Tuesday.

One-time USC assistant coach Laura Janke, 36, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering while former insurance title executive Toby MacFarlane, 56, is set to admit to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, prosecutors in Boston announced.

Janke helped MacFarlane falsely pass off his daughter as a soccer star and his 5-foot-5 son as a 6-foot-1 basketball recruit, so they could get into USC, prosecutors said. MacFarlane paid $450,000 into funds controlled by ring leader Rick Singer and Jenke in exchange for their help with the college admissions.

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MacFarlane’s daughter graduated from USC in 2018 without ever playing soccer while his son was admitted to USC but withdrew from the school without ever playing basketball.

William "Rick" Singer leaves federal court after being charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam in Boston on March 12, 2019.Brian Snyder / Reuters

The scandal, which federal agents have dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," has netted 50 defendants connected to Singer's scheme.

He and his co-conspirators faked college applications, portraying children of their wealthy clients as elite athletes, so they'd gain special admission to universities, prosecutors said.

Janke and MacFarlane would be the 19th and 20th defendants to plead guilty. They face up to 20 years behind bars.

But according to a plea agreement filed with the court Tuesday, prosecutors are recommending 15 months behind bars for MacFarlane and 27 months to 33 months for Janke.

Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are also among the parents who allegedly paid for Singer's services. Huffman has already pleaded guilty.

“Full House” star Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 15 other defendants filed court papers Monday asking a judge to suspend all “substantive motions” until a June 3 pretrial hearing.

Their defense lawyers want prosecutors to turn over more of their evidence before the case can go forward.