BOSTON (AP) — Douglas Hodge, the former CEO of a top investment company, received the harshest sentence Friday of any of the parents caught up in the college admissions bribery scandal.
Hodge, 62, of Laguna Beach, California, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Boston to nine months in prison, and ordered to pay a $750,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service.
Hodge, former CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Co., paid bribes totaling $850,000 — from 2008 until 2012 — to get four of his children into the University of Southern California and Georgetown University as fake athletic recruits, prosecutors said in court.
He also tried, and failed, in 2018 to get a fifth child into Loyola Marymount University, but that son was denied admission based on his academic qualifications, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison sentence, given how long he was involved and how much money he spent in the scheme.
Hodge’s lawyers said the prosecution’s request was excessive and showed a “single-minded obsession” with the case.
Hodge apologized in a statement read in court.
“I have in my heart the deepest remorse for my actions. I understand and accept that what I did was wrong. I know that I unfairly, and ultimately illegally, tipped the scales in favor of my children over others, over the hopes and dreams of other parents, who had the same aspirations for their children as I did for mine,” he said.
He said his children did not participate in his misdeeds.
He had first pleaded not guilty but in October changed his plea to guilty to charges of conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering.
More than 50 people have been charged in the admissions scheme, which involves wealthy and famous parents accused of paying bribes to rig their children’s test scores or to get them admitted to elite universities as fake athletic recruits.
A total of 20 parents have pleaded guilty, and 14 have now been sentenced including “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman. Another 15 are contesting the charges, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.
William “Rick” Singer, the purported mastermind of the scheme, has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. Sentencing for him has not been scheduled.