Ex-insurance executive sentenced to 6 months in college admissions scandal

Ex- Insurance executive sentenced to 6 months in college admissions scandal

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

CBS News

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Toby MacFarlane, a former executive at WFG National Title Insurance Company, to six months in prison for paying $450,000 to get his two children into the University of Southern California as athletic recruits. It's a longer sentence than the 12 other parents who have already received sentences in the college admissions scandal.

MacFarlane pleaded guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud, but U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he saw this as bribery. In addition to six months in jail, MacFarlane was sentenced to two years probation, 200 hours community service and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine.

"So he thought he was going to make a gift to Mr. Singer and they'd miraculously get into USC?" Gorton said. "You don't have to use the word bribery or bribe to have an understanding of what was to happen."

Gorton called MacFarlane a thief and said he is no different from a common criminal. Gorton is a new judge in the college admissions scandal, and is seen as a tougher than some of the others who have presided over previous cases. Gorton will sentence four other parents in the early part of 2020 who changed their pleas as a third charge of bribery was about to hit them. He is also set to preside over Lori Loughlin's case. 

MacFarlane will self-surrender for prison on January 2, with a request for a low security facility in Southern California.

MacFarlane referred to the payments as the "worst actions I've ever taken in my life. I'm completely humiliated and shamed." His lawyers said he lost his job and his professional license since his arrest, along with some of his properties. 

According to prosecutors, MacFarlane paid $200,000 to William "Rick" Singer, the organizer of the scheme, in 2014 to get his daughter admitted as a soccer recruit. A phony athlete profile created for his daughter said she was a three-time "U.S. Club Soccer All American," even though she never earned the honor, according to The Associated Press.

MacFarlane later paid $250,000 to get his son into USC as a basketball recruit, with $50,000 going to an account managed by former USC athletics official Donna Heinel. Heinel has pleaded not guilty to federal charges, while Singer has pleaded guilty to masterminding the scheme.

Earlier Wednesday, West Hollywood test administrator Igor Dvorskiy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Dvorskiy received almost $200,000 from Singer between 2017-19 to run a corrupt test site. Dvorskiy is set to be sentenced on February 7.

More than 50 people have been charged in the college admissions scheme. Nineteen parents have pleaded guilty so far, 12 other parents have been sentenced and actress Felicity Huffman already served out her 13-day sentence