Real Estate Exec Gets Longest Sentence Yet in College Scandal for Faking Children's Athletic Status
Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli have been accused of also faking their daughters' sporting abilities to get into USC
The most severe sentence yet in the college admissions scandal has been handed down to California father Toby MacFarlane.
MacFarlane, a 56-year-old real estate executive, has been sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, CNN reported Wednesday.
MacFarlane lied about his children’s athletic background to get them into the University of Southern California a judge found. Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have been accused of doing the same to get their children into USC.
Loughlin and Giannulli have pled not guilty to their charges, and have not yet been sentenced.
MacFarlane worked with William “Rick” Singer to bribe his two children’s way into the private university, and ended up paying $450,000 to secure their spots at the school, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wednesday.
MacFarlane’s daughter has already graduated from USC with a business degree but got into the school under the guise of being a star soccer player — despite the fact she never played the sport.
In 2017, when his son was applying to the school MacFarlane paid once again to have his child accepted due to his athletic abilities.
A profile was created that lied about his son’s height — saying he is 6’1″ when he is really 5’5″ — and saying that he played varsity basketball for all four years of high school when he only played his senior year.
MacFarlane’s son attended USC for a short time but ultimately left the school.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton, according to USA Today, told MacFarlene that his actions should be tolerated as much as the actions of a common thief “because that’s what you are — a thief.”
“I knew it was wrong, but at the time I was feeling completely overwrought and all I could think of was not having to worry about my kids getting into college,” MacFarlane said in a letter to the judge, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Foolishly and selfishly, I took what seemed like an easy way out.”
In addition to his guilty plea, MacFarlane has paid about $82,000 in back taxes and interest to the IRS, the outlet said.
MacFarlane was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine, serve 200 hours of community service and two years of supervised release in addition to his six months of prison.
MacFarlane’s attorney, Ted Cassman, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
MacFarlane is the thirteenth parent to be sentenced in the scandal; 10 more — including Loughlin and Giannulli — are still battling it out in court.
In addition to charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, the Full House star and her fashion designer husband were handed an additional federal charge last month: one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.
The development, a source previously told PEOPLE, caused stress that “is about to break them.”
Similar to MacFarlane passing off his children as soccer and basketball stars, Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid Singer $500,000 to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.
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Meanwhile, Felicity Huffman was released three days early from her 14-day prison sentence in October. Unlike MacFarlane, the Desperate Housewives star didn’t lie about her daughter’s athletic ability but instead paid Singer $15,000 to have a proctor change her SAT answers after she took the test.
Huffman is now serving community service, of which she was sentenced to 250 hours.