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B.C. woman faces new charges in alleged college admissions scam in the U.S.


September 25, 2019
By The Canadian Press

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BOSTON — A woman from British Columbia is facing new charges in an alleged college admissions scandal that has ensnared Hollywood actresses and dozens of wealthy parents in the United States.

The Department of Justice says Xiaoning Sui was charged in a superseding indictment on Tuesday with an expanded conspiracy charge, two counts of money laundering and three counts of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud.

The 48-year-old Chinese national who lives in Surrey, B.C., was arrested on an indictment last week in Spain on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

The department says she is being detained pending her extradition in Boston.

It is unclear whether Sui has a lawyer to speak on her behalf and none of the allegations have been tested in court.

The indictment alleges that Sui arranged with admissions consultant William (Rick) Singer to pay $400,000 to facilitate her son’s admission to the University of California Los Angeles as a purported soccer recruit even though he did not play the sport competitively.

It alleges that as a result of the scheme, her son was admitted to UCLA in November 2018 and awarded a 25 per cent scholarship.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, honest services mail fraud and federal programs bribery provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, while the mail fraud, honest services mail fraud and money laundering charges each carry a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, the Department of Justice says.

Sui is the second person from B.C. to be charged in the alleged scheme. In April, Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Sidoo’s lawyer, Richard Schoenfeld, said at the time the plea was entered in writing after an indictment from the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts accused him of wiring about $100,000 in January 2013 from an account in Canada to an account in California.

The indictment alleges the money was in the name of college-prep company The Key, and meant to be in exchange for admissions consultant’s facilitation of an alleged SAT cheating scheme for Sidoo’s younger son.

Sidoo, a former Canadian Football League player and well-known philanthropist, had already pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

An indictment in March alleged Sidoo paid $200,000 in total for someone to take the SAT on behalf of both his sons, and that he also paid an undisclosed amount for someone to fly to Vancouver and take a high school graduation exam on behalf of his older son.

Of the dozens charged, 23 have pleaded guilty, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who paid $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT score. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine.

Another 28 defendants are contesting the charges against them, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused of paying to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake athletes on the crew team.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2019.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019