A 53-year old business executive from Los Angeles has been sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for his part in the pay-not-play admissions scandal. Devin Sloane paid $250,000 to get his son admitted to USC as a fake water polo recruit.
Sloane pleaded guilty in May to 1 count of fraud and conspiracy as part of a deal with prosecutors. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also ordered Sloane to do 500 hours of community service over 2 years of supervised release and to pay a fine of $95,000. He becomes the 2nd parent sentenced in the scandal; award-winning actress Felicity Huffman was given a 14-day prison sentence earlier this month and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and perform 250 hours of community service after paying $15,000 to alter her daughter’s SAT score.
According to investigators, Sloane fabricated documents that showed his son as an international water polo star, in spite of him having never played the sport, and even bought water polo gear and staged action shots in the family swimming pool. He then paid $200,000 to a charity operated by the mastermind of the project and ‘admissions consultant’ William “Rick” Singer, and an another $50,000 to an account controlled by former USC athletics official Donna Heinel.
Prosecutors recommended 1 year and 1 day in prison with a $75,000 fine and a year of supervised release, based on the “unusual lengths” that Sloane undertook in pursuing the deception. Sloane’s lawyers asked for no prison time, 3 years of supervised release, a $75,000 fine, and 2,000 hours of community service. Sloane intended to undertake that community service by launching a new national Special Olympics program at private schools.
Sloane himself is a USC graduate and the founder of the water systems company AquaTecture, which plans and designs water infrastructure projects, focusing on those that it calls “both profitable and socially responsible.” His son, Mateo, was accepted to USC as a water polo recruit in March 2018.
In total, 15 parents have pleaded guilty in the scheme, while 19 are fighting the charges. Also charged in the scheme is former USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic, who was indicted for his part in the scheme. Officials allege that a portion of the money paid into the charity fund was used to fund Vavic’s water polo team. They also allege that Singer paid for Vavic’s children to attend private school.
This case is one of 2 believed to have involved the USC water polo program. Vavic was fired after details leaked out implicating him. Vavic has not yet been sentenced, though the Stanford sailing coach was given 1 day in prison for his participation in the scam.
Vavic, a former head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Water Polo team, had become the head coach of both the men’s and women’s water polo teams at USC since 1992. He was named the National Coach of the Year 15 times, the MPSF Coach of the Year 13 times, won 16 NCAA National Championships, coached 14 Cutino Award winners as the best player in the country, and in 2015 was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Century.