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Why attorney for ex-Stanford coach who got no prison time in college scandal isn't surprised

College scam: Ex-Stanford coach avoids prison
Ex-Stanford coach in college admission scandal avoids prison time 02:42

The first person sentenced in the college admissions scandal will spend no time in prison. A federal judge sentenced former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer to one day behind bars, but he gets credit for time served.

Along with a $10,000 fine Vandemoer will also serve two years of supervised release, including six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring – far less than the 13 months in prison prosecutors had asked for. 

"This case for me was about trying to do what I thought was right for the team," Vandemoer said Wednesday. "I have brought a cloud over Stanford and for that I am deeply ashamed."

Vandemoer admitted to taking more than $600,000 from admitted mastermind Rick Singer to get the children of wealthy parents into Stanford as sailing recruits. But his attorneys argued he never pocketed the money, instead using it for sailing uniforms and equipment. And they pointed out that no student was admitted because of his help.

Attorney for ex-Stanford coach on his client's "unique" situation in college scam 01:09

"He's a busy guy, two young kids married, trying to you know do well at his job and I think he never stopped to reflect on this relationship he had with Singer until you have FBI agents sitting in your living room," Vandemoer's attorney Robert Fisher said.

In his only sit-down interview, Fisher explained to CBS News' Don Dahler how his client's relationship with Singer developed over two years.

"Where it started with Rick Singer saying 'Hey I have some recruits that can be helpful for you and here's a donation for the program.' It then morphed slowly over time into I have a recruit, maybe not a great sailor, but can get you a big donation to the program," Fisher said.

Fisher wasn't surprised when his client's sentence came down in part because Vandemoer has a "great story."

"You know he didn't accept the money for himself it went to the program it helped his students and the sailors in fact the university still has the money," Fisher said. "None of the students that he engaged Singer with even applied to Stanford so forget about not being admitted. They never applied."

Vandemoer is one of 50 people charged in the $25 million scheme. Actress Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty. Lori Loughlin and her husband are still fighting the charges.

College scam: Ex-coach's attorney not surprised by light sentence 01:35

Tony Fuller, currently a partner at Hogan Lovells, and was a former assistant in the Boston U.S. Attorney's office, said other defendants shouldn't necessarily be celebrating this sentence, but they should have a "sense of relief."

"Every sentence with each individual will be different. And each, they're all different judges … who have different judicial temperaments and different things that they will take into account," Fuller said.

Stanford says it sees the money it received from Singer's scam as tainted and it plans to redirect those funds.

Prosecutors say they will continue to seek meaningful penalties in these cases. Next month, the man whom Singer called his best test taker, Mark Riddell, is expected to be sentenced.

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