Jeffrey Bizzack, a California entrepreneur, has pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court to charges that he paid $250,000 to get his son into the University of Southern California as a volleyball recruit despite not playing the sport.
CBS News is reporting that Bizzack, 59, a Solana Beach, California, builder and businessman, is the 23rd defendant to take a plea deal in the college admissions scam case which involved actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Like Bizzack, Huffman agreed to plead guilty, but Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, continue to fight the charges.
Bizzack admitted to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in Boston’s federal court. In terms of a sentencing recommendation for Bizzack, prosecutors are asking for nine months in prison, a $75,000 fine, and other forms of restitution to be decided on at the time of sentencing.
Prosecutors don’t believe that Bizzack’s son was aware of what was going on behind the scenes when he was accepted to USC in the spring of 2018. In the agreement, it states that Bizzack gave $200,000 to a “sham charity” run by college admissions consultant Rick Singer, and then sent a $50,000 check to the school’s Galen Center, which would guarantee his son’s position as a volleyball recruit.
Entrepreneur Jeffrey Bizzack paid $250,000 to get his son into to the University of Southern California as a fake volleyball recruit. https://t.co/WsUmg8QApl
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) July 24, 2019
Us Weekly wrote in May that despite mounting evidence and cooperation from Singer, Loughlin was fighting back, and at that time, she was still refusing to take the deal that was offered to everyone ensnared in Operation Varsity Blues.
The charges against Loughlin and Giannulli allege that the two paid bribes to get both of their daughters, Olivia and Bella, into USC by having them pose as crew prospects.
In an email sent to Singer from Giannulli, the designer thanked the consultant on behalf of himself and Loughlin.
“I wanted to thank you again for your great work with [our daughter], she is very excited and both Lori and I am very appreciative of your efforts and end result!”
When Loughlin decided not to take the deal, the federal government added the charges of money laundering conspiracy to the couple and 14 other parents. The plea deal that was offered to Loughlin and Giannulli included a mandatory two-year prison sentence, which made them decide to go to trial.
Report: Lori Loughlin hoping for 'loophole' and 'one last miracle' in college admissions scandal https://t.co/kSUqpNjoMU
— Sharon Williams (@sharonwill57) July 20, 2019
At this time, neither Giannulli daughter has been charged in the college admissions scandal, but that is still an option for the federal prosecutor, per The Inquisitr. Friends of younger daughter Olivia Giannulli have said that if she knew her parents could go to prison, she never would have participated.
“She would have never gone along with it if she thought this would happen. Her thing is that she trusted her parents.”