Employee in college admissions bribery case to plead guilty

A former employee of the consultant who ran a widespread college admissions bribery scheme that has embroiled dozens of wealthy and famous parents has agreed to plead guilty

BOSTON -- A former employee of the consultant who authorities say ran a widespread college admissions bribery scheme that embroiled dozens of wealthy and famous parents has agreed to plead guilty, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Mikaela Sanford, 34, of Folsom, California, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, according to a statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney for Boston, Andrew Lelling.

Under the terms of a plea deal, the government will recommend a sentence at the low end of the sentencing guidelines — one year of supervised release, a fine, the forfeiture of more than $67,000 and restitution.

No date for the plea hearing has been scheduled.

A voicemail message seeking comment was left with Sanford's federal public defender on Friday.

Sanford, who was employed by William “Rick” Singer’s company, took online classes for students, who then submitted the grades she earned in their names as part of their application packages to colleges and universities, prosecutors said.

She also helped fabricate athletic profiles and other documents to bolster college applications by making the students appear to be highly accomplished high school athletes when they were not, according to authorities.

Singer has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

Nearly 30 parents have admitted to charges in the massive case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”

“Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are scheduled to be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty to paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew recruits. Loughlin’s plea deal calls for her to serve two months behind bars and Giannulli’s calls for him to serve five months.

Another Hollywood star, “Desperate Housewives" actor Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty in May 2019 and served a short prison sentence.