Former soccer coach pleads guilty to racketeering conspiracy

Daily Trojan file photo

Former USC soccer coach Ali Khosroshahin will plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges and cooperate with the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation by June 30, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Khosroshahin, who recruited students to the USC women’s soccer team in exchange for high-dollar payments, signed a cooperation agreement offering new information to prosecutors about the case in hopes of receiving a lesser sentence.

William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, paid over $350,000 to a private soccer club run by Khosroshahin and Laura Janke, a former USC women’s assistant soccer coach who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy last month, according to court indictments. Janke and Khosroshahin recruited four of Singer’s clients’ children for the USC women’s soccer team, even though they never played soccer competitively, in exchange for the payments. 

Khosroshahin also sent fake athletic profiles to former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo in 2016. In another case, Khosroshahin and Janke received $50,000 for their club from Toby MacFarlane, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud conspiracy and honest services mail fraud in late April, after they helped his daughter get into USC. 

Janke and Khosroshahin are ordered to forfeit $356,047 in the form of a money judgment, according to court documents. Khosroshahin is also separately ordered to forfeit $75,000. 

Although Khosroshahin initially pleaded not guilty, he then entered into a proffer agreement on April 22, allowing him to disclose facts about the scheme without further incriminating himself, before his guilty plea this month. 

Due to his cooperation, prosecutors recommended Khosroshahin be sentenced to 46 to 57 months in prison, according to the Times. Prosecutors can recommend lower guidelines if he provides information that adds to the case.

Lawyers representing USC parents Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli, among others implicated in the investigation, were also present at the status conference (a pre-trial procedural meeting).

Loughlin and Giannulli have both pleaded not guilty to charges of mail and wire fraud conspiracy, honest services mail and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. Their attorneys outlined a potential defense strategy, which claims that the alleged bribes were actually donations to the University. 

Loughlin could face up to 40 years in prison for her charges, according to BuzzFeed. She and her husband were accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into USC as crew team recruits, despite them never playing the sport.

A second status conference is set for Oct. 2.