Former USC admissions official to plead guilty in scam admitting unqualified students from China

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The statue of Tommy Trojan on the USC campus is seen in a file photo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The statue of Tommy Trojan on the USC campus is seen in a file photo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In exchange for money, a former admissions official at USC helped graduate students from China gain acceptance to the school by submitting doctored transcripts, fraudulent letters of recommendation and bogus personal statements in their applications, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court.

Hiu Kit David Chong, an assistant director in USC’s Office of Graduate Admissions from 2008 to 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud in an agreement signed last month and unsealed Wednesday.

Between February 2015 and December 2018, Chong purchased college transcripts from a supplier in China, who charged $1,000 to $2,000 per phony academic record, the plea agreement said. Chong submitted the transcripts, along with fake letters of recommendation and personal statements, on behalf of three international students who were admitted to graduate programs at USC.

Identified only by their initials — F.J., Z.L., and S.L. — they each paid Chong between $8,000 and $10,000, according to the plea agreement.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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