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Surfing executive sentenced to 2 months in prison in college admissions scam

Federal prosecutors in Boston said Wednesday that surfing executive Jeffrey Bizzack has been sentenced to two months in prison for participating in the massive college admissions scheme. Prosecutors said Bizzack, 59, paid $250,000 in 2017 to get his son into the University of Southern California (USC) as a volleyball recruit, even though he did not play volleyball.

Bizzack, a former executive at World Surf League, told the court that this has been a "huge wake-up call for me."

"It's a turning point in my life," Bizzack said. "I will continue after this sentencing to pivot my life. I want it for my son, my wife, my community and my employees. I apologize and thank you for your time today."

Bizzack pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. He was sentenced Wednesday to two months in prison, three years supervised release and 300 hours of community service per year. He was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.

California businessman Jeffrey Bizzack leaves the federal courthouse in Boston
California businessman Jeffrey Bizzack seen October 30, 2019. Reuters

Authorities said Bizzack agreed with college admissions consultant Rick Singer to have his son admitted to USC as a volleyball recruit, although he didn't play the sport. Former USC assistant women's soccer coach Laura Janke allegedly falsified an athletic profile for Bizzack's son that depicted him as a nationally ranked volleyball player, and included the photograph of another individual playing volleyball. Janke has since pleaded guilty.

In October 2017, USC athletics administrator, Donna Heinel, secured approval from the school's athletic admissions subcommittee to admit Bizzack's son, prosecutors said. In December 2017, Bizzack issued a $50,000 check to USC's "Galen Center," a restricted account that operated under Heinel's oversight. Heinel has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said USC mailed Bizzack's son a formal acceptance letter in March 2018. Bizzack then mailed a $100,000 check to a sham charity run by Singer, Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF). In April 2018, he sent a second check to KWF in the amount of $50,000 and had his company wire another $50,000 to KWF.

Bizzack is the 12th person to be sentenced in the scheme. Actress Felicity Huffman has already completed her sentence.

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