A former University of Southern California (USC) soccer assistant coach admitted on Monday that she was involved in a college admission scheme, but said she only made “a few thousand dollars” for faking students’ sports credentials.
Testifying before the US District Court in Boston, Laura Janke revealed that she regularly created fake athletic profiles for students. She included exaggerated accomplishments and Google images to help unqualified students get admitted to the university.
The 39-year-old also disclosed that she had no idea if the students she was creating fake credentials for actually played competitive sports. She said she had to make the profiles believable “without raising any red flags.”
“I was lying to the universities. I was lying to admissions. And furthermore, I knew what it takes to be a Division I athlete,” she said, as quoted by Bloomberg. She added that she devalued the commitment it takes for an athlete to play.
In her testimony, Janke named William Singer as the mastermind of the scheme. Although it was revealed that Singer paid coaches about $50,000 per illegally recruited student, Janke insisted that she only received a couple of thousand dollars.
Janke disclosed that, as part of the scheme, she created a fake profile for the daughter of former Wynn Resorts Ltd. executive Gamal Abdelaziz, who allegedly paid $300,000 in bribes to get his child into USC as a basketball player.
Janke has already pleaded guilty in exchange for her cooperation with investigators. She was ordered to return over $141,000 she reportedly earned from the scheme and other coaching business.
“I don’t want to go to jail. I want to be with my kids,” she said while crying.
Janke stated that her decision to admit involvement in the USC admissions scandal was her way of setting an example for her own children. She said she needed to show her daughters that she takes responsibility for her actions.
She also said that with her cooperation in the on-going investigation, she is hoping for a more lenient sentence, although she knows that she faces a possible 27 months in prison.