A Surrey mother has been charged in connection to the U.S. college bribery scandal, marking the second parent from B.C. to be accused of paying money to a university or college in exchange for their child’s admission.
Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night, according to the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.
She is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Sui is currently detained in Spain, and authorities will be seeking her extradition to Boston to face the charge.
According to court documents unsealed in Boston Monday, Sui allegedly paid $400,000 to William “Rock” Singer in 2018, in order to have her son admitted to UCLA as a soccer recruit. Evidence includes phone calls beginning in August 2018 where Singer, a Newport Beach college consultant, allegedly told Sui she would be “guaranteed” admission into the university in exchange for the large sum of money.
Co-conspirator Laura Janke, who already pleaded guilty to her role in the scam, then fabricated a soccer profile for Sui’s son, which described him as a top player for two private soccer clubs in Canada.
Sui wired $100,000 to a Massachusetts bank account in the name of Singer’s sham charitable organization in October 2018, the court documents allege. Shortly after, Su’s son was admitted to the university as a soccer player on a 25 per cent scholarship.
Sui allegedly wired another $300,000 to the same account in January 2019. If convicted, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000.
Sui is the 52nd person to be indicted for allegedly using bribery or other forms of fraud, including celebrities like Lori Laughlin, who pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial, as well as Felicity Huffman who was sentenced last week to 14 days behind bars and a $30,000 fine.
Meanwhile, Singer pleaded guilty in March to helping bribe university sports coaches to present clients’ children as fake athletic recruits. His sentencing is set for later this month.
Jorge Salcedo, the UCLA men’s soccer coach, who has also been charged with racketeering conspiracy in connection to the scheme, pleaded not guilty.
The only other B.C. defendant in the case so far, former CFL player David Sidoo, pleaded not guilty after being charged in March with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. It’s alleged he paid $200,000 in total for someone to take an entrance exam on behalf of both his sons, and that he also paid an undisclosed amount for someone to fly to Vancouver and take a high school test.
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