A California business executive was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for paying $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California as a fake water polo player.
Devin Sloane, 53, of Los Angeles, is the second parent to be sentenced for his role in the college admissions scandal after actor Felicity Huffman's sentencing earlier this month. Sloane was also ordered to pay a $95,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service.
Sloane, the founder of a water treatment company, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in May. He admitted to paying $250,000 to participate in the college athletic recruitment scheme set up by Rick Singer that swelled to 50 people, including TV stars.
Though his son didn't play water polo, Sloane purchased gear and worked with a graphic designer to create what looked like a photo of an aspiring athlete in action, prosecutors said. An employee of Singer's then created an athletic profile for Sloane's son.
Sloane then paid $50,000 directly to USC's women's athletics department, as well as $200,000 to Singer through a bogus charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation.
Prosecutors had recommended Sloane be sentenced to one year in prison, according to court documents. Sloane's attorneys sought to spare their client prison time, instead asking for three years of supervised release and up to 2,000 hours of community service.
"There is no evidence at all that a sentence of imprisonment is required to specifically deter Mr. Sloane from committing future crimes nor is there any evidence that he poses a risk to the public for future criminal conduct," his attorneys said in a sentencing memorandum.
Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen argued Sloane’s conduct was "far more egregious" than Huffman’s, according to USA Today, noting he paid "17 times the bribe amount" to Singer and did not accept responsibility like actor did.
“Huffman has owned her criminal activity, while the defendant attacked the victim and blamed others,” Rosen said.
Sloane was one of more than 50 parents, coaches, and other conspirators charged in the nationwide admissions scandal announced by federal investigators in March. In addition to Sloane and Huffman, former Stanford University sailing coach John Vandemoer has been sentenced to two years of supervised release.