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Two defendants to plead guilty to charges in college admissions scheme

Key Points
  • Two more defendants in the nationwide college admissions scheme, Toby MacFarlane and Laura Janke, have chosen to plead guilty.
  • The charges are associated with the facilitation of the admission of two applicants into the University of Southern California.
Laura Janke, center, the women's soccer assistant coach at the University of Southern California, is pictured outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on March 25, 2019.
Nathan Klima | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Two more defendants in the nationwide college admissions scheme have chosen to plead guilty to charges associated with the facilitation of the admission of two applicants into the University of Southern California, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Toby MacFarlane, a former senior executive at a title insurance company, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Court documents show that MacFarlane paid a total of $450,000 to facilitate the admission of his children into USC as purported athletic recruits.

Laura Janke, a former assistant coach of women's soccer at USC, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering in association with the admission of MacFarlane's children to USC and has agreed to cooperate with the government's investigation.

On Oct. 3, 2013, William "Rick" Singer emailed the high school transcript and college exam scores of MacFarlane's daughter to Janke and another defendant. Singer then had a "purported charitable organization" he established wire $50,000 to a private soccer club controlled by Janke and the other defendant, documents show.

Singer has pleaded guilty to masterminding the scheme to help children of wealthy individuals gain entrance to universities through a combination of bribing college athletic coaches, having other people take admission tests for the applicants and hiring people to correct students' incorrect answers on those tests.

Janke then used the documents falsified by MacFarlane and Singer to create a falsified soccer profile for MacFarlane's daughter, falsely describing her as a high school "US Club Soccer All American." She was then presented to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions as a purported soccer recruit and was accepted to the school in March 2014, court documents show.

Toby MacFarlane leaves the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on April 3, 2019.
Jonathan Wiggs | Boston Globe | Getty Images

On May 2, 2014, MacFarlane issued a $200,000 check, with the memo line "Real Estate Consulting & Analysis," to the Edge College & Career Network, Singer's for-profit college counseling and preparation business. Singer then on May 12, 2014, issued a $100,000 payment to the private soccer club partially owned by Janke.

In November 2016 Singer directed Janke to create a falsified basketball profile for MacFarlane's son. Singer then emailed the profile to a USC administrator to present to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions as a purported basketball recruit. MacFarlane's son then received a conditional acceptance from USC in February 2017, as a student athlete.

On Feb. 23, 2017, MacFarlane sent a $50,000 check to USC athletics and the following month USC mailed MacFarlane's son a formal acceptance letter. On April 18, 2017, MacFarlane issued a $200,000 check to Singer's purported charitable organization with "Real Estate Consulting" written in the memo line.

MacFarlane has been previously charged with a criminal complaint and Janke has been previously indicted, along with 11 other defendants.

The racketeering conspiracy charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The court has not yet scheduled plea hearings for the defendants.

USC is conducting an internal investigation.

Janke's lawyer declined a request to comment on the plea agreement.

MacFarlane's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Key Points
  • Under Warren's plan, all but 5% of borrowers would walk away from at least a portion of their student debt.
  • Meanwhile, more than 75% of student loan borrowers would have all of their debt erased.
  • Those who earn more than $250,000 would not be eligible for any debt cancellation.