Longest Prison Sentence In College Admissions Scandal Has Just Been Made
Toby MacFarlane, a 56 year old former California insurance executive from Del Mar, is the most recent to be sentenced in the now infamous college admissions scandal that has been rocking the media as of late. MacFarlane received the longest sentence made thus far and will be serving six months in prison for paying upwards of $450,000 to get both of his children into the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits, the same specific crime committed by actress Lori Loughlin, according to FOX.
MacFarlane specifically paid $200,000 to William Singer, the man who acted as the middleman for twelve of the parents involved in the scandal, to pay USC athletic directors off in order to get his daughter admitted to the school as a soccer recruit back in 2014. Additionally MacFarlane paid $250,000 three years later to get his son into USC as a fake basketball recruit (FOX). The money paid allowed MacFarlane’s children to be accepted into the university as “All American” athletes. Singer pocketed most of the bribe, but around $50,000 was taken from both sets of payment and paid to USC athletics official Donna Heinel. Heinel is the same individual who helped Loughlin’s kids also get admitted to the school as Crew recruits. She has pleaded not-guilty to her federal charges and is awaiting trial.
According to CNN, MacFarlane will also have to pay a fine of $150,000, perform 200 hours of community service upon release, and will most likely be put on probation a year after his release. His son attended the university for a few months but didn’t end up graduating from it, due to the scandal breaking, and his daughter graduated from the university in 2018, both kids never once stepped foot on an athletic field.
To get away with it, CNN reports that MacFarlane claimed the payments on his taxes as business expenses, as he was working as a senior executive of the World Financial Group’s Title Insurance Company at the time, so he was able to get tax deductions on the bribes. So far he has paid back the IRS $80,000 of the money he pocketed since being arrested. Also since his arrest MacFarlane lost his job and professional license working in insurance.
“I was entering the most serious personal crisis of [my] life when Singer entered [my] life. My marriage was falling apart, and I was being treated for anxiety, depression and insomnia. I knew it was wrong, but at the time I was feeling completely overwrought and all I could think of was not having to worry about my kids getting into college. Foolishly and selfishly, I took what seemed like an easy way out,” MacFarlane wrote in a letter to the court.
Prosecutors were anything but sympathetic to this letter, as MacFarlane used the scam not once but twice, and with three years in between each other. Personal turmoil is often never a viable excuse in the court of law, as every human being is going through hardships, but that doesn’t mean everyone else turns to criminal behavior to cope, especially when the individual is one of high financial power and status.
“Many people experience similar hardships without turning to criminal conduct. By repeating the scheme for his son, MacFarlane demonstrated that it was not just a “transitory lapse in judgment,” Prosecutors wrote in court documents.
More than 50 individuals total have been charged due to their involvement with this scandal. So far, 19 have pleaded guilty to their charges and 15 have contested.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.