A former assistant woman’s soccer coach for the University of Southern California said Monday that she created fake athletic profiles, with overstated accomplishments and images from Google in order to get students unqualified admitted.
Laura Janke, 39, of North Hollywood, California, took the stand in U.S. District Court in Boston in the trial of former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples and Gap Inc. executive John Wilson, The Boston Globe reported.
They are among dozens of rich and famous parents charged in the Operation Varsity Blues case, which involved large payments to get undeserving children into elite U.S. universities with rigged test scores or phony athletic accomplishments. Janke stated that she didn’t know if the applicant played any sport when she was putting together a profile.
Janke was an employee at USC, 2007 through 2014,. She testified that Janke falsified Abdelaziz’s athletic profile, creating the impression she was a recruit from Hong Kong. Abdelaziz is charged with paying $300,000 to get his daughter into USC as a basketball player even though she couldn’t even make her high school varsity team. Janke stated that he had to make the situation believable without raising red flags.
Wilson, who heads a Massachusetts private equity firm, is charged with paying $220,000 to have his son designated as a USC water polo recruit and an additional $1 million to buy his twin daughters’ ways into Harvard and Stanford. Their defense lawyers argued that they had no idea of false information about the children submitted by their clients and believed they were contributing legitimately to universities.
Janke claimed she worked with William “Rick”, a college admissions consultant, to coordinate the operation.
Janke created the fake profiles but she did not meet or correspond with her parents.
Janke faced charges of conspiracy to racketeering. However, she pleaded guilty and received a light sentence in return for her testimony. There is no scheduled sentencing.
Janke said in court she wanted to set an example for her own daughters. Janke stated that she needed to demonstrate to her daughters that it is possible to accept responsibility for your actions even if you are really wrong.
Singer also pleaded guilty to cooperate with investigators.
Actors Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli — her husband are among the parents that have already pleaded guilty to their charges and received their sentences.
Three other parents will be going to trial in January.