Employee of college bribery scheme mastermind pleads guilty

Posted at 6:39 AM, October 2, 2020 and last updated 6:33 PM, June 8, 2023

BOSTON (AP) — A former employee of the mastermind of the college admissions bribery scheme pleaded guilty Thursday for her role in the scam.

Mikaela Sanford, 34, of Folsom, California, pleaded guilty before a Boston federal court judge to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering. The hearing was held via videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE – In this March 12, 2019, file photo, William “Rick” Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network, exits federal court in Boston after he pleaded guilty to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Sanford was among nearly 60 people charged in the case involving wealthy parents and athletic coaches at top universities across the country.

Sanford, who was employed by William “Rick” Singer’s company, took online classes for students, who then submitted the grades she earned when they applied to colleges and universities, prosecutors said. She also helped fabricate athletic profiles and other documents to help make students look like star athletes on their college applications, prosecutors said.

Sanford is among roughly 40 people have pleaded guilty so far in the case. Singer, who also pleaded guilty, secretly cooperated with investigators and helped build the case against others.

An email seeking comment was sent to her attorney after the hearing. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 15.