Another Bay Area couple pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

Another Bay Area couple is pleading guilty to participating in both the athletic recruitment and exam rigging schemes, and are cooperating with prosecutors for a chance at a lighter sentence.

California real estate developer Bruce Isackson and his wife, Davina Isackson, partook in both the entrance exam and recruitment schemes. A false athletic profile for their daughter touted her as a “Varsity 8 Stroke” for the Redwood Scullers, among other honors.

Shortly after she was accepted to USC, the Hillsborough couple were invoiced for a “generous donation” of $250,000, to the Key Worldwide Foundation, an FBI affidavit indicates.

That foundation was run by a consultant, Rick Singer, who organized the college scheme for parents all over the nation.

“No words can express how profoundly sorry we are for what we have done,” the Isacksons wrote in a statement. “Our duty as parents was to set a good example for our children and instead we have harmed and embarrassed them by our misguided decisions. We have also let down our family, friends, colleagues and our entire community. We have worked cooperatively with the prosecutors and will continue to do so as we take full responsibility for our bad judgment.”

According to the Department of Justice, Bruce Isackson transferred over 2,100 Facebook shares, valued at over $251,000, to the foundation. In a conversation with Singer transcribed in the affidavit, Isackson allegedly said, “I think we’ll definitely pay cash this time, and not, not — not run it through the other way.”

Actress Felicity Huffman also agreed Monday to plead guilty in the sweeping college admissions cheating scam that has ensnared wealthy parents and athletic coaches at some of the nation’s most selective universities.

The “Desperate Housewives” star and 12 other prominent parents will admit to charges in the scheme, which authorities say involved rigging standardized test scores and bribing coaches at such prestigious schools as Yale and Georgetown.

Huffman was accused of paying Singer $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Authorities say the 56-year-old actress also discussed going through with the same plan for her younger daughter, but she ultimately decided not to.

Other parents charged in the scheme include prominent figures in law, finance, fashion, the food and beverage industry and other fields. It’s the biggest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department, embroiling elite universities across the country and laying bare the lengths to which status-seeking parents will go to secure their children a coveted spot.

Singer met with Huffman and her husband, 69-year-old actor William H. Macy, at their Los Angeles home and explained to them he “controlled” a testing center and could have somebody secretly change their daughter’s answers, authorities say. Singer told investigators Huffman and her husband agreed to the plan.

Macy was not charged; authorities have not said why.

Huffman will plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to court documents.

In addition, Stanford University expelled a student who lied about her sailing credentials in her application, which was linked to the scandal. The university quietly announced it had rescinded the student’s admission in a short statement posted on its website April 2 after determining “some of the material in the student’s application is false.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/hillsborough-couple-pleads-guilty-to-scandal-13750864.php.

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