The college admissions scam that has landed dozens of parents and even Hollywood stars in trouble all stemmed from a tip in an unrelated case.
As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, a defendant in a securities fraud case, Morrie Tobin, had information about a bribery scheme involving the Yale women’s soccer coach, which ultimately caused the entire admissions scam to unravel.
“I don’t think the person who tipped this ever thought it was going to be this big,” said Barry Pollack, a former federal prosecutor.
According to court records, Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith had accepted a bribe to pretend a student was a women’s soccer recruit in order for her to be admitted to the college. Tobin knew of the scheme and then reported it to prosecutors.
While it is not uncommon for defendants to offer up information in hopes they will receive leniency at sentencing, Pollack said it is unusual for a securities case to lead to something like this.
“It’s usually not something so unrelated and so large,” he explained. “Usually, you find out there was a second pump and dump, not just a first pump and dump. Now here this defendant who is facing eight plus years in jail for securities fraud is now finding a new kind of windfall.”
An attorney for Tobin could not be reached Monday.
According to court sentencing guidelines, Tobin could spend nearly a decade behind bars when he goes before Judge Nathaniel Gorton in June.
Judge Gorton has said in the past that he places a “heavy weight” on what the guidelines recommend. However, Tobin’s cooperation with the government could help.
“Presumably, at some point, with all the people involved this was going to unravel. The real surprise here is how lucky one securities fraudster might be,” said Pollack. “This is a field day or a gift for that particular defendant.”