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Ex-USC coach, accountant plead guilty in college scam

By Sommer Brokaw
Ex-USC coach, accountant plead guilty in college scam
Two people pleaded guilty in the $25 million college bribery case Thursday, bringing the total number of defendants who have pleaded guilty to 22 out of 50. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

June 27 (UPI) -- A former women's soccer coach at the University of Southern California and a bookkeeper pleaded guilty Thursday to being part of a college admissions scam.

Ali Khosroshahin, 46, who coached soccer from 2007 to 2013, and accountant Steven Masera, 69, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court Thursday to conspiring with mastermind William "Rick" Singer on a scam to secure college admissions spots for wealthy children.

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Khosroshahin pleaded guilty to taking more than $200,000 in bribes from Singer, the admitted mastermind of the scam, which altered test scores and faked sports profiles to gain college admissions. In exchange, he recruited four students who had never played competitive soccer, prosecutors said.

Masera, the former bookkeeper of a nonprofit Singer operated, said he sent payment information to parents and checks totaling $21 million to college coaches on Singer's behalf, from 2011 to 2017. The nonprofit claimed to help low-income children while actually funneling money from wealthy parents to coaches, who falsely claimed students were recruited athletes, and to test proctors, who allowed them to cheat on entrance exams, prosecutors said.

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U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani accepted plea agreements from both of them.

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Each of the men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney's Office, including helping provide all documents in their possession to investigators as the probe into the nationwide scandal continues.

Prosecutors are recommending that Masera face a five-year prison sentence under the plea agreement and Khorsroshahin face about four years and forfeit the $209,000 he gained from Singer's scam.

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Both men pleading guilty has brought the total number of defendants pleading guilty in the case to 22 out of 50, as 28 defendants continue fighting charges.

Singer and his nonprofit took in more than $25 million in payments from parents to help children get into elite schools, prosecutors said.

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