4 More Parents Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

CBS News
October 21, 2019 - 12:17 pm

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Four more parents are pleading guilty in the college admissions bribery scandal, and a Texas man accused of helping to orchestrate the scheme has also agreed to a plea deal. Douglas Hodge entered his guilty plea in Boston's federal court Monday after previously pleading not guilty in April. 

Also scheduled to reverse their pleas on Monday are parents Michelle Janavs, Manuel Henriquez and Elizabeth Henriquez. Each faces charges of fraud and money laundering. 

Martin Fox, the president of a private tennis club in Houston, also agreed to plead guilty in a deal that prosecutors announced Monday. He is charged with a single count of racketeering.

Authorities say Fox brokered bribes to help wealthy parents cheat on their children's college entrance exams at a Houston testing site. He's also accused of arranging bribes to get two students admitted to the University of San Diego as recruited athletes, and one student to the University of Texas. He will return the $245,000 he received through the scheme, according to his plea deal.

The four parents join 15 others who have pleaded guilty in the case, while 15 other parents are fighting the charges. Out of 10 parents sentenced so far, nine have been dealt prison time, with terms ranging from two weeks to five months.

Hodge, of Laguna Beach, California, was accused of paying more than $500,000 in bribes to get two of his children into the University of Southern California. 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. I acted out of love for my children, but I know that this explanation for my actions is not an excuse," Hodge said in a statement. "I also want to apologize to the deserving college students who may have been adversely impacted by this process."

Janavs, of Newport Coast, California, is accused of paying $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.

Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez, of Atherton, California, are accused of paying $400,000 in bribes to get their oldest daughter into Georgetown as a fake tennis recruit in 2016. They're also accused of paying to help two of their daughters cheat on college entrance exams a total of four times.

Manuel Henriquez is the founder and former CEO of Hercules Capital, a finance firm in Palo Alto, California.