The college admissions scandal that has rocked academia expanded as authorities charged yet another parent in the case.
Jeffrey Bizzack, 59, of Solana Beach, California, will admit to paying $50,000 to the University of Southern California and $200,000 to the scam’s mastermind, college counselor William “Rick” Singer, to get his son into USC, according to the Justice Department.
He becomes the 34th parent and 51st person to be charged in the scandal, and the first new defendant since federal prosecutors in Boston announced the charges more than three months ago.
The new charge appears to confirm the fears of some of Singer’s clients that prosecutors are aggressively pressing ahead with their investigation. Singer, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the U.S., has told authorities he had hundreds of clients. It’s unclear where the probe will lead, but several of those who have pleaded guilty are cooperating with the government.
Kate Corrigan, a lawyer for Bizzack, didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.
In July 2017, Singer asked Bizzack for biographical information about his son that prosecutors said was for a phony athletic profile. Later that month, Bizzack emailed Singer his son’s academic transcripts, which were forwarded to Laura Janke, the former USC assistant soccer coach, prosecutors said.
Janke then created a fabricated volleyball profile for the son and sent it to Singer, who forwarded it to “the senior associate athletic director at USC,” according to the government. She has pleaded guilty in the case.
Bizzack’s son received conditional admission to USC as a student athlete in November 2017. In December, at Singer’s direction, Bizzack made a $50,000 payment to USC’s Galen Center, a sports facility, according to the U.S. He also made a number payments totaling $200,000 to a purported charitable foundation Singer ran, the government said. In March 2018, prosecutors said, Bizzack’s son was formally accepted to the school, according to court documents.
Bizzack faces a prison term of 18 to 24 months, but prosecutors agreed to recommend a nine-month sentence and a fine of $75,000. Bizzack’s willingness to plead guilty may have led to the recommendation of less time.
Gary Polakovic, a spokesman for USC, didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.
None of the colleges or students in the scandal have been charged.