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Second Bay Area couple involved in admissions scandal to plead guilty

After paying to get daughters in as recruited athletes, couple says they are ‘profoundly sorry’

Davina and Bruce Isackson of Hillsborough, CA will join a wave of parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, in pleading guilty to their involvement in the college admissions scandal, The New York Times reported.

Bruce, president of a real estate firm, and his wife Davina are accused of paying scandal ringleader William Rick Singer $600,000 to falsify athletic records that would later earn their daughters entry into the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“No words can express how profoundly sorry we are for what we have done,” the couple wrote in a statement released by their lawyer to The Times. “Our duty as parents was to set a good example for our children, and instead we have harmed and embarrassed them by our misguided decisions.”

In addition to pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud, the Isacksons have agreed to become cooperating witnesses and reveal information about others who may have participated in the scandal. Additionally, Bruce has also agreed to plead guilty to money laundering conspiracy and a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

If prosecutors determine that Bruce has provided them with “substantial assistance” after hearing what he knows, they will ask the judge to grant him a shorter sentence, as per the plea agreement reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

The Isacksons’ older daughter, Lauren, was admitted to UCLA as a soccer recruit, despite having no soccer experience. Singer fabricated an athletic profile for Lauren in May 2016, later reviewed by former UCLA men’s head soccer coach Jorge Salcedo and former USC women’s soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin. The Isacksons wired $250,000 in Facebook shares to Singer, according to the affidavit, of which $100,000 were paid to Salcedo and $25,000 to Khosroshahin through Singer’s sham charity, The Key Worldwide Foundation. Salcedo and Khosroshahin have both been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering.

Though Lauren was listed online as a midfielder on the team during the 2017 season — which UCLA concluded as runner-up to Pac-12 champion Stanford — she was recorded to have made no appearances and played no minutes throughout the season.

The remainder of the $600,000 the Isacksons are accused of paying Singer was directed toward successfully gaining their younger daughter admission into USC. Singer created false rowing records and modified her college entrance exam.

Thirteen of the 33 parents charged in March with involvement in the scandal have agreed to plead guilty, including Peter Jan Sartorio of Menlo Park, who paid to have his daughter’s ACT exam be corrected in June 2017 at the West Hollywood Test Center.

Meanwhile, Gregory and Amy Colburn of Palo Alto — also charged with paying to have their child’s college entry exam modified at the West Hollywood Test Center — maintain their innocence.

Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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