May 19 (UPI) — A U.S. district judge sentenced a Chinese woman living in Canada on Tuesday to time served and fined her $250,000 for bribing her son’s way into a prestigious university as an athlete recruit.
Xiaoning Sui, 48, of Surrey, British Columbia, was sentenced via videoconference after she pleaded guilty in February to one count of federal programs bribery, the Justice Department said in a statement.
She served approximately five months in a Spanish jail after her arrest in the European country in September. She was extradited to Boston for the plea hearing, prosecutors said.
Sui, a Chinese citizen, was the 35th parent to be indicted in the college admissions scandal, which involves dozens of wealthy parents accused of bribing colleges and test proctors to gain admission to prestigious U.S. universities for their children.
According to court documents, Sui agreed to pay $400,000 to William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the scheme, for her son to gain admission to the University of California at Los Angeles as a soccer recruit despite he not having played the sport competitively.
Prosecutors said Singer told Sui over the phone that he would write her son’s name on the application in a “special way” that would guarantee his acceptance into the school.
Singer then instructed Sui to wire him $100,000 to pay a coach at UCLA in exchange for a letter of intent to recruit her son to the school’s soccer team. Days later, she wired the money to a Massachusetts bank account under the name of Key World Foundation, a fake charitable organization Singer ran to funnel money from parents, prosecutors said.
According to the statement from the Justice Department, Sui has also agreed to forfeit the $400,000 she paid during the scheme.
Operation Varsity Blues has resulted in charges leveled at dozens of wealthy and high-profile parents, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman served a 14-day prison sentence in the fall for her crime.