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Bay Area Couple Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scam; Prosecutors Recommend Prison Time

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A Northern California couple who secured their daughters’ spots at UCLA and USC with bribes and rigged tests pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraud and money laundering offenses, the first parents to admit their guilt before a judge in an investigation that has sent shivers through circles of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood and some of the country’s most elite universities.

Lauren Isackson bio from the 2017 UCLA Women's Soccer Roster is seen in a screenshot captured March 19, 2019.

Lauren Isackson bio from the 2017 UCLA Women's Soccer Roster is seen in a screenshot captured March 19, 2019. Prosecutors say she was admitted to UCLA as a recruited soccer player, given a jersey number and was listed on the team roster as a midfielder for an entire season, despite never having played the sport competitively.

Davina Isackson, of Hillsborough, Calif., pleaded guilty to one count of fraud conspiracy. Her husband, real estate developer Bruce Isackson, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud conspiracy, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. They will be sentenced July 31.

In her plea agreement, prosecutors recommended a sentence for Davina Isackson at the low end of federal guidelines that call for 27 to 33 months in prison. For Bruce Isackson, they suggested a sentence at the low end of 37 to 46 months in prison.

Of the 33 parents charged in the investigation, the Isacksons are the only ones to have signed cooperation deals with prosecutors. If they decide the couple provided useful and credible information, they can recommend that a judge sentence them below the federal guidelines.

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