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Test Taker Gets Prison Term, Ex-Coach Guilty in Admissions Scandal

A former Florida prep school administrator was sentenced to federal prison and a decorated University of Southern California water polo coach was swiftly convicted by a jury in the long running college admissions bribery scandal. Mark Riddell, who was paid to take college entrance exams for wealthy students, got a four-month prison term and was ordered to forfeit nearly $240,000, the Associated Press reports. Former USC coach Jovan Vavic, who faked the athletic credentials of rich students so they could gain admission, was convicted of fraud and bribery by a jury that deliberated less than a day after a nearly monthlong trial.

U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins in Boston said the verdict in Vavic’s trial was the last conviction in the case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The investigation announced in 2019 exposed corruption in the college admissions process at Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and other sought-after schools, and implicated wealthy parents, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. “To say the conduct in this case was reprehensible is an understatement,” Rollins said. “The rich, powerful and famous — dripping with privilege and entitlement — used their money and clout to steal college admissions spots from more qualified and deserving students.” Prosecutors said Vavic, 60, who guided USC’s men’s and women’s water polo teams to 16 national championships, received about $250,000 in bribes for designating unqualified students as water polo recruits so they could attend the elite Los Angeles school.


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