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First verdict in bribery scandal over US elite unis

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In the bribery scandal for admission to US elite universities, a first defendant has been convicted – and escaped imprisonment. A US judge yesterday pronounced a lenient sentence against John Vandemoer, a former sailing instructor at the prestigious Stanford University in California: six months in house arrest, one and a half years of judicial oversight, and a $ 10,000 fine.

The prosecution had demanded 13 months in prison. The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to having received a total of $ 610,000 (540,000 euros) in bribes. In return, Vandemoer recommended the children of wealthy parents to Stanford University’s sailing teams, allowing them to join the famed college.

50 participants charged

The bribery scandal had become known in mid-March. Wealthy parents should have paid a lot of money so that their children were admitted to elite colleges. Accused are around 50 participants, including celebrities such as the actresses Felicity Huffman („Desperate Housewives“) and Lori Loughlin („Full House“).

The bribes of the accused parents had flowed to William Singer, who provided by means of a sophisticated network for the admission of less qualified students. He faked exam results and bribed coaches, who certified candidates for higher education and above-average performance in order to get a sports scholarship. Singer’s criminal organization collected a total of $ 25 million from parents.