USC alumnus Toby MacFarlane was sentenced to six months in prison in Boston federal court Wednesday in the longest prison sentence of the college admissions scandal to date.
MacFarlane will also have to serve one year of supervised release, perform 200 hours of community service and pay a fine of $150,000 after paying a total of $450,000 to USC officials to falsely designate both his children as athletic recruits.
MacFarlane pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in the Operation Varsity Blues scheme in June. He coordinated with William “Rick” Singer, who organized the backdoor scheme in which wealthy parents paid to have their children falsely designated as athletic recruits to be admitted to top universities.
In Fall 2013, MacFarlane and Singer arranged for former assistant women’s soccer coach Laura Janke to falsify an athletic profile for MacFarlane’s daughter.
Her daughter’s USC application falsely stated that she had been a “U.S. Club Soccer All American” player sophomore through senior year of high school.
In a drafted application essay emailed to MacFarlane, Singer wrote from the point of view of MacFarlane’s daughter, claiming to be a two-sport athlete, “On the soccer or lacrosse field I am the one who looks like a boy amongst girls with my hair tied up, arms sleeveless and blood and bruises from head to toe … It is true that I can be a bit intense out there on the field.”
That November, MacFarlane’s daughter was presented to an admissions subcommittee. She received an official offer of admission in March 2014. In summer 2014, when a USC athletics academic counselor emailed MacFarlane’s daughter asking her to adjust her class schedule to accommodate travel games, Singer instructed MacFarlane to tell the coach that his daughter had plantar fasciitis, a type of foot tissue inflammation, rendering her unable to play.
That May, MacFarlane paid $200,000 to The Key, one of Singer’s fraudulent foundations that accepted the money, and Singer transferred $100,000 from The Key to a soccer club operated by Janke and former women’s soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin.
Janke and Khosroshahin have both been charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering and will be sentenced in federal court in January.
In Fall 2016, MacFarlane began discussing his son’s admission to USC with Singer.
Janke created a fake athletic profile for MacFarlane’s son, featuring a photo of him playing basketball procured by MacFarlane’s wife, who was not charged in the case. The profile listed his height as 6 feet 1 inch, 8 inches taller than his actual height.
It also stated that he had played varsity basketball for his high school for three years. While MacFarlane’s son did play varsity basketball, he had only done so his senior year.
Singer emailed the profile along with the student’s academic information to then-senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel, who presented MacFarlane’s son to an admissions subcommittee, which granted him conditional admission to the University in February 2017 and formal admission a month later. In April, MacFarlane paid Singer $200,000 for helping his son get into the University.
MacFarlane’s daughter enrolled at the University in Fall 2014 and graduated in 2018, while his son attended for the 2017-18 academic year but withdrew that May.
MacFarlane’s sentence is lighter than the 15 months in prison, one year of supervised release and $95,000 fine recommended by federal prosecutors. The maximum sentence he could have received for a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud was 20 years in prison with — in most cases — three years of supervised release and a fine worth twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense.
MacFarlane is the 14th defendant and the 13th parent sentenced in the college admissions scandal. His sentencing comes after those of Jeffrey Bizzack, Jane Buckingham and Agustin Huneeus Jr. last month and Devin Sloane in September.