May 27 (UPI) -- A former biotech executive from Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to paying a Georgetown tennis coach more than $50,000 in exchange for recruiting his daughter as a sports athlete to gain her admission to the prestigious school.
Robert Repella, 61, of Ambler, Pa., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, the Justice Department said in a release.
The government has recommended a 10-month prison term with a one-year supervised release and a $40,000 fine.
Repella is the 26th parent to plead guilty in a sprawling admission scandal that has rocked wealthy American parents.
Prosecutors have charged more than 50 people in Operation Varsity Blues that centers around the scheme's mastermind, William "Rick" Singer, who would facilitate the admission of wealthy parents' children to high-end universities in exchange of large sums of money.
Repella was not involved in the conspiracy with Singer but Gordon Ernst, the Georgetown University tennis coach he said he bribed, faces a slew of conspiracy fraud and money laundering charges in connection to Singer. He has pleaded not guilty.
U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen has described Ernst in court as "the most prolific of all the coaches" accused in the scheme and that "he also solicited his own bribes outside of Rick Singer."
According to court documents, after Ernst received the money from Repella, he sent an email in November 2017 to a Georgetown admissions officer listing Repella's daughter, who was not named, as one of his recruits, requesting she be sent what is called a "likely letter" of admission that states 95 percent of its recipients gain admittance to the school.
Georgetown then sent Repella's daughter the so-called likely letter and she was soon after admitted, prosecutors said.
Last week, actor Lori Loughlin of Full House and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection to the scheme for paying Singer $500,000 to have their two daughters falsely designated as crew recruits to the University of Southern California.
Days earlier, Xiaoning Sui, a Chinese woman living in Canada, was sentenced to time served and fined $250,000 for paying Singer $400,000 to have her son admitted to the University of California Los Angeles as a soccer recruit.