Ex-USC coach, couple avoid prison time in college scandal
BOSTON (AP) — A former assistant soccer coach at the University of Southern California who created fake athletic profiles for the children of wealthy parents in the sprawling college admissions bribery scheme avoided prison time Tuesday after helping convict others in the case.
Laura Janke, who helped the mastermind of the scheme get students into elite schools as bogus athletics recruits, was sentenced to time served and 50 hours of community service. Federal prosecutors credited her “extensive and valuable” cooperation in the government’s investigation and prosecution in not seeking time behind bars despite her “egregious” conduct.
Stephen Huggard, an attorney for Janke, said his client is a “very good person who is very sorry to have been involved in this and very glad to have this behind her.”
Also on Tuesday, a California couple who admitted to paying $600,000 to get their daughters into USC and the University of California, Los Angeles, were sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to complete 250 service hours. Bruce Isackson must pay a $7,500 fine and Davina Isackson must pay a $1,000 fine.
The Isacksons of Hillsborough, California, also cooperated with the government in the so-called “Operation Varsity Blues” case. Prosecutors didn’t ask for prison time for them either, telling the judge that their “acceptance of responsibility for their conduct was unstinting, their remorse sincere.”
The couple paid the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme — Rick Signer — to have their older daughter designated as a bogus soccer recruit and their younger daughter designated as a crew recruit. They also paid Singer to rig their younger daughter’s ACT score by having a fake proctor correct her answers.
The Isacksons were the first among dozens of parents charged in the case to plead guilty. Both Janke and Bruce Isackson testified in trials against two other parents and another former USC coach.
“Davina and I profoundly regret our part in the college admissions case and look forward to making amends by serving our community,” Bruce Isackson said Tuesday in an emailed statement through his lawyer.
Of the 57 people charged in connection with “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, more than 50 defendants pleaded guilty, including “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, and “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman.
Three people — two parents and a former University of Southern California water polo coach — were convicted at trial. Another parent was pardoned by former President Donald Trump, and one coach got a deal under which prosecutors agreed to move to dismiss his case if he pays a fine and abides by the the agreement’s terms.
One other parent was acquitted earlier this month by jurors on all counts stemming from accusations that he bribed then-Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst to get his daughter into the school. Ernst is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.