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As parents cooperate in college admissions scam, others are "scared 24 hours a day"

Admissions scandal: 1st parents cooperate
College admissions scandal: First parents agree to cooperate with authorities 03:08

A high-profile couple implicated in the college admissions scandal is agreeing to cooperate with authorities – a move that some insiders believe could mean trouble for other parents who might still face charges. Bruce and Davina Isackson pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Boston federal court to paying $600,000 in bribes to guarantee that their two daughters would be admitted into USC and UCLA, reports CBS News' Jamie Yuccas. 

Of the 14 parents who've agreed to plead guilty, they're the only two who've entered into cooperation agreements so far. By cooperating, experts say the couple could tell investigators about other school officials, coaches, or even friends who might also be involved.

Justin Paperny served time for fraud and is now a prison consultant working with clients involved in the scheme, including a parent who pleaded guilty.

"The defendants that get these deals are usually the ones who accept responsibility first and who have the most to offer," Paperny said. "That could include rolling over on friends, family, colleagues."

According to the Los Angeles Times, a couple from China – who has not been charged – paid the scheme's mastermind Rick Singer the most of any parent, $6.5 million, to get their daughter into Stanford.

In a statement to CBS News, Stanford says it "did not receive $6.5 million from Singer, or from a student's family working with Singer." It says it was "not aware" of the reported payment before Wednesday.

The couple was reportedly connected to Singer through a Morgan Stanley financial adviser. Morgan Stanley told CBS News the adviser "was terminated for not cooperating with an internal investigation into the college admissions matter." It added "we are cooperating with the authorities."

While 33 parents have been charged, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, prosecutors say they've sent target letters to three students and there might be more indictments to come. According to experts, the cooperation agreements are making potential new defendants even more concerned about what's to come.

"Those who have yet to be charged – and more are coming – are living in the land of the unknown. They are scared 24 hours a day, many are struggling to function and even work and they're begging for some clarity," Paperny said.

At least three other parents in California have been contacted for their dealings with Rick Singer. According to a source close to those involved, they have hired attorneys, but have not been charged. One parent tells our source they haven't slept, terrified they've ruined their child's future.

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