Joey Garrison, USA TODAY
Published 6:55 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2019 | Updated 10:41 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2019
BOSTON — The former CEO of a major investment management firm has agreed to reverse course and plead guilty to paying more than $500,000 in bribes to get his children into the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits.
A plea hearing for Douglas Hodge, once a top executive at Pacific Investment Management Co. (Pimco), is set for Monday morning before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston federal court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts announced Hodge’s plea in a tweet.
He will become the 25th defendant out of 52 people charged in the nation’s college admissions scandal to plead guilty. That includes 16 out of 35 parents charged with crimes. Hodge, of Laguna Beach, California, had pleaded not guilty to charges in March.
Hodge’s plea could signal that other parents still fighting charges might also flip instead of going to trial next year.
Hodge led Pimco, which manages the world’s largest bond fund, from 2014 to 2016. The firm is based in Newport Beach, California. Hodge’s attorney, Miranda Hooker, declined to comment.
He faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. The latter charge was tacked on to parents who turned down plea deals with prosecutors earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors have accused Hodge of paying $200,000 in 2013 to the foundation and college counseling company led by Rick Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide admissions scheme, to get one of his daughters admitted into USC as a fake soccer recruit.
Hodge is accused of paying an additional $75,000 to the USC “Women’s Athletics Board” and $250,000 to Singer to get Hodge’s son tagged as a football recruit to be admitted into USC. The transaction occurred in 2015, prosecutors say.
Hodge’s relationship with Singer went back as early as 2008, according to documents in the “Varsity Blues case.” The documents say the two men exchanged emails about getting Hodge’s oldest daughter designated as a tennis recruit for her entry into Georgetown University. Prosecutors say Singer and Hodge discussed securing the admissions of another of his children through bribery as well.
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The Wall Street Journal reported that Singer gave presentations at Pimco’s offices, as recently as 2015.
Ten defendants who have pleaded guilty, including nine parents, have been sentenced for their crimes in the admissions scheme. Only one of the parents has avoided prison. Actress Felicity Huffman reported to a federal prison in California Tuesday to begin serving a 14-day sentence.
Eighteen parents, including actress Lori Loughlin, have pleaded not guilty to charges and are currently on track for a potential trial next year.
Reach Joey Garrison and on Twitter @Joeygarrison.
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