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Former Southern California official sentenced to 6 months in college bribery case

BOSTON — A former USC athletics officer who took bribes from the ringleader of a nationwide college admissions scandal to help recruit often unqualified students into the school as athletic recruits was sentenced Friday to six months in prison.

Donna Heinel was also sentenced by the U.S. District Court in Boston to two years’ probation and a $160,000 fine.

Her sentence came just two days after the ringleader Rick Singer was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. by far the longest sentence in the so-called Operation Varsity Blues scandal, which resulted in the conviction or conviction of more than 50 people, including Hollywood actors and wealthy businessmen.

the scheme included bribes, embellishment of athletic achievements, and cheating in entrance exams. to place often unqualified children from wealthy families in some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

Hynel, former Senior Assistant Athletic Director of Southern California, pleaded guilty in November 2021 on charges of honest services fraud.

“Heinel abused her position as a liaison between USC athletic coaches and the Athlete Admissions Subcommittee, misleading the committee into accepting the admission of about two dozen Singer candidates as prospective recruits when the coaches did not actually recruit them, and some they don’t even play the sport they were supposedly recruited for,” the prosecution wrote in its sentencing memorandum.

When the university cracked down and surprised school counselors raised red flags, prosecutors said she lied to cover her tracks and continued the scheme.

“She remains unwilling to take responsibility for her actions,” the prosecutor’s office wrote.

Defense lawyers asked to be spared her imprisonment.

“Her behavior, for which she takes full responsibility, does not reflect who she was or is today,” they wrote to the court. is a product of her own decision-making, but also the result of pressure exerted on her by a dysfunctional university education system at the University of Southern California and the powerful people who populated her orbit.”

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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