A parent named in the admissions scandal was indicted Tuesday on one count of filing a false tax return on the payment he made to secure his son’s admission to USC as an athletic recruit.
John Wilson paid $220,000 in April 2014 to falsely designate his son as a men’s water polo recruit. The money was divided between three bank accounts belonging to admissions scheme organizer William “Rick” Singer, including accounts for Singer’s fraudulent nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Singer redirected $100,000 of the payment to USC Athletics and issued Wilson a gift receipt for the purported donation.
According to the indictment, Wilson claimed the money he paid in the admissions scheme as a deduction on his 2014 tax returns under the guise of donations and business expenses. The tax fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Wilson’s son was unaware of the arrangement, Wilson’s wife told Singer in an email, according to court documents. Singer sent former men’s water polo coach Jovan Vavic a fabricated athletic profile that presented the Wilsons’ son as an award-winning player and, on Vavic’s recommendation, the Wilsons’ son was granted admission to the University. He enrolled at USC in Fall 2014 and remained on the water polo roster until the end of the semester.
Wilson again sought Singer’s services in Fall 2018 in the hopes of bribing athletics administrators at Stanford and Harvard universities to admit his daughters as athletic recruits, according to court documents. Wilson allegedly paid Singer $1 million to arrange for his daughters’ admissions, but Singer had already agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the admissions scheme investigation and did not make the final payments to the school officials.
Wilson was among the 11 USC parents indicted on a count of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery last October. He faces additional charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aiding and abetting wire fraud and honest services wire fraud and aiding and abetting federal programs bribery and has pleaded not guilty to all five previous charges.
Wilson’s defense has not yet entered a plea for the new charge and the date of his arraignment has not been set.