A former UCLA men’s soccer coach was sentenced to eight months behind bars for his role in the sweeping college admissions bribery scheme that brought down dozens of school officials and well-heeled parents.
Jorge Salcedo admitted to pocketing $200,000 in bribes to help get students get accepted into the university under the guise of being athletic recruits.
In court, Salcedo told the judge he took the kickbacks because he wanted to buy a nicer house.
He avoided a sentence of up to 20 years in prison by pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery in January.
“I am a different man than I was two years ago, and I will never make decisions like this again,” Salcedo said during a hearing held via videoconference.
According to court papers, in 2016, Salcedo agreed with William “Rick” Singer — the college counselor mastermind of the $25 million cheating scheme — to get Davina and Bruce Isackson’s daughter on the women’s soccer roster for a fee of $100,000.
Lauren Isackson was listed as a midfielder on the team’s roster for the 2017 season — but had zero soccer experience and never set foot on the field during a game, prosecutors said.
Salcedo admitted to taking another six-figure bribe to recruit the son of Xiaoning Sui, of Surrey, British Columbia, to his team, offering him a scholarship.
The Isacksons have pleaded guilty, and Sui spent five months behind bars in connection with the scheme.
More than 40 people have plead guilty in connection with the sweeping “Operation Varsity Blues” federal investigation.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, are among those jailed in the scandal. Giannulli is still serving out a five-month sentence for his role in paying half a million dollars in bribes to get his daughters into USC under false pretenses.
Salcedo received one of the longest sentences in the payola scheme, and is the third coach to be locked up.
“Mr. Salcedo has demonstrated that he is a perpetual cheat,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Kearney said.
Singer, who has also pleaded guilty, recorded his phone calls with parents and coaches and is expected to be the star witness for the prosecution in any cases that go to trial.
A Netflix documentary “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal,” released this week, detailed the investigation into the cheating plot.
With AP wires