Former media executive to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scandal

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BOSTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - A former media executive has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a vast U.S. college admissions fraud scheme by paying $525,000 to win admission for her children to top universities, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Elisabeth Kimmel, a former owner and president of San Diego-based Midwest Television, had been scheduled to go to trial in September in Boston alongside three other wealthy parents charged in the nationwide college admissions scandal.

Kimmel, 57, will instead plead guilty on Monday to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and agreed to spend six weeks in prison plus one year in home confinement.

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The La Jolla, California, resident also agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Kimmel is one of 57 people charged over a scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with California college admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer to fraudulently secure their children's college admissions. read more

Singer pleaded guilty in 2019 to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of students to colleges as fake athletic recruits.

Thirty-two parents have pleaded guilty, including "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman and "Full House" star Lori Loughlin. Several others continue to fight the charges.

Prosecutors said Kimmel paid Singer $275,000 in 2012 to help win her daughter's admission to Georgetown University, with the help of tennis coach Gordon Ernst.

They said Kimmel also paid Singer $250,000 in 2017 to help her son get admitted to the University of Southern California as a pole vault recruit.

Prosecutors have accused Ernst of accepting $2.7 million in bribes from Singer to help students enter Georgetown. His lawyer in court on Tuesday said he was nearing a plea deal.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.