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Laguna Beach Father Among 4 Parents Pleading Guilty In College Admissions Scandal

BOSTON (CBSLA/AP) — A Laguna Beach father and Newport Beach mother were among four parents who Monday became the latest to plead guilty in the college admissions scandal.

Douglas Hodge of Laguna Beach, Michelle Janavs of Newport Beach and Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez of Atherton, Calif., entered guilty pleas in Boston's federal court Monday after having previously plead not guilty. Each faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering.

The four were also among 16 parents who had pleaded not guilty at first, but then in April were hit by prosecutors with additional money laundering charges. In that group was also actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who are fighting the allegations.

Because the four who plead guilty Monday did not have plea deals, they could face harsh sentences.

College admissions scandal
Actress Felicity Huffman (C) leaves the courthouse after facing charges for allegedly conspiring to commit mail fraud and other charges in the college admissions scandal at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on April 3, 2019. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images)

Hodge paid more than $500,000 in bribes to get two of his children into USC. Authorities say he paid $200,000 to get his daughter admitted as a soccer recruit in 2013, and $325,000 to get his son in as a football recruit in 2015. Neither played on those sports teams.

Hodge, a former CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Company, is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2020. He apologized in a statement Monday, saying he takes full responsibility for his conduct.

"I have always prided myself on leading by example, and I am ashamed of the decisions I made," he said. "I acted out of love for my children, but I know that this explanation for my actions is not an excuse."

Janavs, of Newport Coast, California, paid $400,000 to get her son admitted to Georgetown University as a fake tennis recruit in 2017. She separately paid $100,000 to help two of her daughters cheat on the ACT exam in 2017 and 2019, prosecutors said.

Janavs is a former executive of Chef America Inc., a food producer that created the Hot Pocket frozen snack. She is set to be sentenced in February.

Fifteen other parents, including "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman -- who began serving a 14-day sentence last week -- previously pleaded guilty as part of plea agreements. Prosecutors agreed to request lighter sentences for those parents since they took responsibility earlier.

RELATED: West Hollywood School Head To Plead Guilty In Admissions Scandal

Out of 10 parents sentenced so far, nine have been dealt prison time, with terms ranging from 14 days to five months.

So far, another 15 parents are fighting charges tied to the scheme, including Loughlin. Their trials are expected to begin sometime in 2020.

On March 12, the FBI charged 50 people — including 33 parents and nine coaches — in a massive bribery scheme in which wealthy families paid millions to a Newport Beach businessman named Rick Singer to help their children cheat on standardized tests and bribe test administrators and college coaches to help get their kids into top universities like UCLA, USC, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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