USC coach, parent plead guilty in admissions case

Former USC women’s assistant soccer coach Laura Janke and San Diego businessman Toby MacFarlane will plead guilty Tuesday for their involvement in the college admissions bribery scheme, according to a memo from the Department of Justice.

Janke, who worked at the University from 2007 to 2014, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering due to her involvement in creating false athletic profiles for students whose parents bribed athletics officials. MacFarlane, who paid $450,000 to have his son admitted to USC as a purported basketball recruit, will plead guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to the memo.

According to a statement from USC, Janke left the University when a new coaching staff took over for the women’s soccer team. The U.S. Attorney’s office said she has agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation and will testify in trial if needed.

MacFarlane is among 13 USC parents indicted in the scheme — the most of any University named in the FBI affidavit. So far, 13 parents from eight universities, including USC, UCLA, Stanford and Yale, have pleaded guilty to the charges. USC parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, who paid $500,000 to create false athletic profiles to have their two daughters admitted to the University, filed a not guilty plea April 15.

Janke helped create fake athlete recruiting profiles for some of the students who were admitted to USC through the scheme, including MacFarlane’s son. MacFarlane’s daughter was admitted to the University as a soccer recruit and graduated in 2018 without playing soccer.

The Edge College & Career Network, a for-profit college counseling business founded by businessman William “Rick” Singer, is accused of running the student-athlete recruitment scam.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote that Singer emailed MacFarlane’s daughter’s high school transcript and college exam scores to Janke in October 2013 and soon after, The Edge College & Career Network wire transferred $50,000 and $100,000 on two separate occasions to a private soccer club controlled by Janke and another defendant named in the charges.

In 2016, Singer sent $50,000 to USC Athletics and in 2017, MacFarlane paid $200,000 to The Edge College & Career Network.

According to the memo, Janke and MacFarlane will each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of at least $250,000.

Janke’s lawyer declined to comment. MacFarlane’s lawyer did not respond in time for publication.