Court Battles

USC students’ dad gets longest sentence yet in college admissions scandal

Former real estate executive Toby MacFarlane was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday in the college admissions scandal, receiving the heaviest sentence imposed in connection with the scheme thus far, according to USA Today.

MacFarlane pleaded guilty in June to fraud conspiracy after paying $450,000 to ensure his daughter and son were admitted to the University of Southern California as athletic prospects, the newspaper noted.

{mosads}MacFarlane paid $200,000 per child to consultant Rick Singer’s fraudulent nonprofit as well as $50,000 to USC’s athletics department, claiming one son was a soccer recruit and another a basketball recruit, it added.

During the sentencing process, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton castigated MacFarlane as a “thief” and berated him for denying two different students a slot at USC, according to USA Today.

“Higher education in this country aspires to be a meritocracy. Those who work the hardest or make the best grades rightfully get accepted into the best schools,” Gorton said, the newspaper reported. “You had the audacity and the self-aggrandizing impudence to use your wealth to cheat and lie your way around the rules that apply to everyone else.”

Gorton also reportedly sentenced MacFarlane, who must report to prison by Jan. 2, to two years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service and fined him $150,000. 

Gorton’s sentence was stiffer than the one called for in court guidelines, with the judge saying he based it on MacFarlane’s “fraudulent, deceitful” conduct, USA Today noted.

“I am truly sorry. I love that school and it is heartbreaking to me that I brought a shadow on it,” MacFarlane, a USC alumnus, said in an address to the court, according to the newspaper, adding that his children “didn’t deserve this.”

“I’m working to make it up to them and regain their respect,” he added.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen had told Gorton that MacFarlane’s transgressions were particularly egregious because he was the first parent to pay for two different slots under Singer’s scheme, and asked Gorton to “send a message,” according to USA Today.

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