First sentencing in college admissions scandal

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A sentence has been handed down in the first of the college admission scandal cases to reach a judge. The former sailing coach at Stanford received:

  • $10,000 fine
  • 1 day in jail, already served
  • 6 months house detention
  • 2 years supervised release, i.e. probation

Prosecutors recommended 13 months in prison.

Several articles pointed out this person is the lease culpable of those lined up for sentencing. He did not receive any money directly.

If I read the articles correctly, the only student admitted as part of this scheme was not actually an athlete and has since been expelled.  No other students were admitted.

One key point of detention is an assessment of what type of crime is present.

Are these bribery or fraud cases?  Bribery would draw more serious sentences. Fraud calls for identifying victims and quantifying their loss.

The federal probation office characterized this case as fraud with no visible loss to Stanford on the basis that the coach received no money directly; all the proceeds he was aware of went to the university. The judge agreed with that analysis. The US Attorney argued it was bribery but the judge overruled that position.

In this case, the judge could not see damages to the college.

Articles show lots of people accused who have not settled are watching the first cases closely for an indication of what sentences will run. After an assessment of a few cases, a number of parents will decide whether to settle with a plea deal or go to trial.

This specific case reveals the thought process of one judge, which will probably indicate her approach for future sentencing. However, there are cases assigned to four other judges. Also keep in mind this is apparently the least severe case in line for sentencing.

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