Xiaoning Sui, center, a Chinese national residing in British Columbia, Canada, leaves federal court, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Boston, after pleading guilty to paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles, as a fake soccer recruit. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

B.C. mom gets time served for $400K college admissions bribe

More than 50 parents, coaches and others have been charged in the admissions cheating scheme

A woman from British Columbia who was locked up for five months in a Spanish prison after her arrest in a college admissions bribery scheme won’t spend any more time behind bars, a judge ruled Monday.

Xiaoning Sui, 49, of Surrey, was sentenced to time served after admitting to paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles, as a fake soccer recruit. During a sentencing hearing held via video conference due to the coronavirus pandemic, the judge said Sui has already been punished enough.

“I set a horrible example for my child and I was a bad influence. I promise that I will never do anything like that again,” Sui told the judge through an interpreter.

READ MORE: Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son’s UCLA admission in U.S. college bribery scandal

Sui, a Chinese citizen who moved to Canada in search of better educational opportunities for her son, was arrested in September while travelling in Europe. While awaiting extradition to the U.S., Sui was held in a Madrid prison, where she was locked in her cell for 15 hours per day in conditions far worse than what other parents in the college admissions case have experienced in U.S. prisons, her lawyer said.

“It was a very isolating and anxiety-creating experience,” attorney Martin Weinberg told the judge.

READ MORE: Surrey mom has plea deal in U.S. college admissions scandal

Prosecutors had also urged the judge for a sentence of time served, noting that Sui immediately sought to take responsibility for her crimes, among other things.

Prosecutors say Sui paid $400,000 to a sham charity operated by admissions consultant Rick Singer to have her son admitted to UCLA as a fake soccer recruit. Through a translator, Singer told Sui that he would write her son’s application in a “special way” in order to guarantee that her son could get into the school, according to court documents.

Singer worked with Laura Janke, a former assistant soccer coach at USC, to fabricate an athletic profile depicting Sui’s son as a top soccer player, prosecutors said. Singer gave $100,000 to then-UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo in exchange for his help with the scheme.

Both Singer and Janke have pleaded guilty. Salcedo has agreed to plead guilty but his hearing hasn’t yet been held.

Sui’s son was admitted to UCLA as a soccer player in November 2018, authorities say, and was awarded a 25% scholarship. In September, UCLA said it had taken “immediate corrective action” after learning of the case.

More than 50 parents, coaches and others have been charged in the admissions cheating scheme involving prestigious universities across the country. Sui is among nearly two dozen parents who have pleaded guilty. Others include “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who paid $15,000 to rig her daughter’s entrance exam and a former Canadian Football League player.

Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleaded guilty in March to a mail fraud conspiracy charge in Boston federal court. A plea deal calls for Sidooo to serve 90 days in prison and pay a $250,000 fine, which must be approved by the judge. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Prosecutors said Sidoo paid the admissions consultant at the centre of the scheme $200,000 to have someone pose as his sons using a fake ID to secure higher scores on their SATs. Sidoo, who is known for his philanthropic causes in British Columbia, played professional football for six years for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions.

A group of parents fighting the charges includes “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. They are denying allegations that they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into USC as fake crew recruits.

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Annual bird count thrills organizer in Houston

Count took place over 48 hours

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

Canada Day event cancelled in Houston

Can’t fit in with public health order limiting group sizes

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Most Read