A California entrepreneur pleaded guilty on Wednesday to paying $250,000 to get his son into to the University of Southern California as a fake volleyball recruit.
Jeffrey Bizzack of Solana Beach, California, was the 51st person to be charged in a sweeping scheme that involved rigging test scores and bribing coaches to get students into elite schools including Georgetown, Stanford and Yale universities.
Bizzack is the 23rd defendant to plead guilty, while the others, including Fuller House star Lori Loughlin and her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, are fighting their charges.
Bizzack, 59, entered the plea to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in Boston’s federal court.
His son is said to have had no knowledge of the arrangement to get him accepted to USC.
As part of a plea deal with Bizzack, prosecutors are recommending nine months in jail, a $75,000 fine and other restitution to be decided during sentencing.
Authorities say Bizzack gave a total of $200,000 to a sham charity run by William ‘Rick’ Singer, the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme, and sent a $50,000 check to the USC Galen Center, a campus sports arena, to have his son designated as a recruit for the volleyball team.
Singer then made monthly payments of $20,000 to USC’s then-senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, for her help getting Bizzack’s son and other children of prominent parents into the school.
Bizzack’s son was formally accepted to the university in March of 2018.
Heinel has pleaded not guilty in the case. Singer pleaded guilty in March and helped build the case against parents and others accused in the scheme.
When asked by a federal judge about the prosecution’s account Wednesday, Bizzack said it was accurate to the best of his knowledge.
Once refereed to as ‘one of the most successful industry executives in HR outsourcing’ in an article by HRO Today, Bizzack recently held a partnership stake in artificial wave machines as part of famed surfer Kelly Slater’s Wave Company.
Bizzack described himself as an entrepreneur who has worked in the tech and surfing industries. He said little else as the judge formally accepted his guilty plea.
He was released following the hearing and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30. The maximum he could face is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
In June, when Bizzack’s plea deal was announced, his lawyers said he deeply regrets his actions and the effect it will have on his son.
Bizzack is among 15 parents that have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme, including ‘Desperate Housewives’ actress Felicity Huffman, who admitted to paying $15,000 to have someone correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT exam.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as fake crew recruits, have pleaded not guilty to charges against them and are scheduled to appear in court again in August.