USD parent gets 1 month in prison for college admissions scandal

LOS ANGELES — A Beverly Hills real estate developer was sentenced Friday to a month behind bars in connection with the college admissions scandal.

Robert Flaxman, 62, was also sentenced by a federal judge in Boston to a year of supervised release following prison and was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and pay a fine of $50,000. Flaxman pleaded guilty in May to federal counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Flaxman was the 10th parent to be sentenced in the far-reaching case.

Beginning in the 2016, Flaxman conspired with Newport Beach businessman William “Rick” Singer and others to have his daughter’s ACT exam corrected, thereby fraudulently inflating the score, prosecutors said.

As part of the scheme masterminded by Singer, Flaxman took steps to secure extended time for his daughter to take the ACT and to take the exam at a test center in Houston, Texas, that Singer controlled through a corrupt test administrator. On Oct. 22, 2016, Flaxman’s daughter and the child of another client of Singer both took the ACT with the assistance of co-conspirator Mark Riddell, prosecutors said.

Riddell, who has admitted his role in the scheme, assisted in answering exam questions and instructed the students to answer different questions incorrectly so that the ACT would not suspect cheating. As a result of the cheating scheme, Flaxman’s daughter received a score of 28 out of 36 on the exam, according to federal prosecutors.

Two days prior to the exam, Flaxman made a donation of $75,000 to Singer’s sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, to pay for the fraud. Thereafter, Flaxman deducted the bribe payment from his income taxes, thereby defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, prosecutors said.

Dozens of parents and college athletic coaches were implicated in the nationwide bribery scandal, in which wealthy parents paid Singer thousands of dollars to have their children’s entrance-exam scores doctored. In other cases, students were falsely admitted to elite universities as athletic recruits, even though they never had any experience in the sports for which they were being recruited.

Singer pleaded guilty in March to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Tuesday to begin serving a 14-day sentence for paying a $15,000 bribe to have a proctor correct her daughter’s answers on a college- entrance exam. The “Desperate Housewives” actress, who pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, was the first parent to be sentenced in connection with the¬†¬†cheating scandal.

Douglas Hodge, the former chief executive of Newport Beach-based investment firm Pimco, is expected to plead guilty on Monday in Boston to unspecified charges contained in an indictment alleging conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, according to federal prosecutors. The Laguna Beach resident is accused of paying $525,000 to Singer to have his daughter and son admitted to USC as fake soccer and football recruits.

“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy and money- laundering charges. They are accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters admitted to USC by portraying them as crew team recruits, though neither had ever participated in the rowing sport.

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