Ex-Stanford coach receives one day in prison for college admissions scandal

College Admissions Bribery

College Admissions Bribery

A former Stanford University sailing coach avoided prison on Wednesday in the first sentencing to result from the USA college admissions scandal after admitting he took bribes to help children of wealthy parents gain admission to the school.

Before his sentencing on Wednesday, Vandemoer had already pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy for accepting $770,000 in bribes on behalf of Stanford's sailing program, in order to falsely represent Singer's clients as elite sailing team recruits.

U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel also sentenced John Vandemoer to one day in prison, which she deemed to have been served, and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine. This ruling makes John Vandemoer the first person named in the nationwide admissions scandal to be formally sentenced.

She noted that unlike other coaches charged in the scheme, Vandemoer did not personally pocket any bribes, instead directing all of the money from Singer to Stanford's sailing program. He reportedly made it so that two applicants could be sailing recruits for Stanford, too.

"From what I know about the other cases, there is an agreement that Vandemoer is probably the least culpable of all the defendants in all of these cases", Zobel says in the NBC story.

Outside court, Vandemeor read a statement, taking no questions. "We are short changing not only the criminal justice system, but all those kids in high school who are working hard every day in an effort to improve their own lives and to get into the best school they can honestly and through hard work", Rosen said. Prosecutors had asked for Vandemoer to receive 13 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Prosecutors said he unsuccessfully tried to enroll a third for $500,000.

Vandemoer admitted to receiving roughly $610,000 in bribes for getting two students into the prestigious university as sailing team recruits despite the students having no prior sailing experience.

"Mr. Vandemoer's actions in this matter are profoundly disappointing and especially so as he had a reputation of caring deeply for his student-athletes", said Debra Zumwalt, vice president and general counsel for Stanford University in a statement. Stanford is the only school implicated in the scandal in which all fraudulent money went to university programs.

Prosecutors said that when that student chose to attend another school, Vandemoer agreed to use the same recruiting spot for the child of a different client of Singer's in exchange for $500,000.

"Vandemoer's intent, while misguided, was to help the sailing program he loved", his lawyers wrote, NPR reported. The list includes Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who is scheduled to be sentenced next week, and former Georgetown University soccer coach Gordon Ernst, who has pleaded not guilty.

Thirty-three parents have been charged, including former "Desperate Housewives" television star Huffman, who pleaded guilty in May, and Full House television actress Loughlin, who has pleaded not guilty. Actress Lori Loughlin is among those still fighting the charges.

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