Hillsborough couple, ex-coach avoid jail in college admissions scandal

Hillsboro — A former USC soccer assistant coach who created fake sports profiles for sons of wealthy parents in a sprawling bribery scheme for college admissions avoided jail Tuesday after helping convict others in the case.

Laura Janke, who helped mastermind the scheme get students into elite schools as false athletics recruits, was sentenced to time out and 50 hours of community service. Federal prosecutors praised her “extensive and valuable” cooperation in the government’s investigation and prosecution in not pursuing time behind bars despite her “indecent” behavior.

Janke’s attorney Stephen Hoggard said his client is “a very good person who is very sorry to be involved in this and very happy to be behind her”.

Also on Tuesday, a San Mateo County couple who pleaded guilty to paying $600,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to complete 250 hours of service. Bruce Isaacson has to pay a fine of $7,500, and Davina Isakson has to pay a fine of $1,000.

The Isacksons of Hillsborough also cooperated with the government in the so-called “Operation Varsity Blues” case. Prosecutors did not ask for a prison term for them either, telling the judge that “their acceptance of responsibility for their conduct was boundless, and their remorse is sincere.”

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Bruce and Davina Isakson

The couple paid the scheme center’s admissions counselor – Rick Signer – to appoint their eldest daughter as a pseudo-soccer recruit and to appoint their youngest daughter as a staff recruit. They also paid Singer to fake their youngest daughter’s ACT score by having a mock observer correct her answers.

The Isacksons were the first of dozens of parents charged in the case to plead guilty. Both Yankee and Bruce Isaacson testified in trials against two other parents and another former USC coach.

“Davina and I deeply regret our role in the college admissions issue and look forward to making things right by serving our community,” Bruce Isaacson said Tuesday in a statement emailed through his attorney.

Of the 57 people charged in connection with the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation, more than 50 have pleaded guilty, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, and “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Hoffman.

Three people were convicted at the trial – parents and a former University of Southern California water polo coach. Another father was pardoned by former President Donald Trump, and one coach secured a deal in which prosecutors agreed to move to dismiss his case if he pays a fine and adheres to the terms of the agreement.

Another parent was acquitted earlier this month by juries of all charges stemming from accusations that he bribed then-Georgetown University tennis coach Gordon Ernst to get his daughter into school. Ernst is due to be sentenced Friday.

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