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The University of Southern California tagged children of wealthy donors as "VIP" and gave them preferential treatment, a parent implicated in a sweeping college admission scandal has alleged.
Attorneys for Robert Zangrillo filed a defense motion at a Boston federal court alleging that USC gave deference to students whose families had made generous donations, the Boston Globe reported.
Zangrillo — a Miami developer — is accused of fraud for trying to get his daughter into the California school.
According to the Globe, Zangrillo's attorneys obtained speadsheets in which students were tagged as VIPs and emails between officials that allegedly show preferential treatment.
In a statement to the Globe, USC said "Mr. Zangrillo’s filing appears to be part of a legal and public relations strategy to divert attention away from the criminal fraud for which he has been indicted by a federal grand jury."
The motion was the latest in the ongoing scandal that has implicated Hollywood stars, business executives and top collegiate coaches.
Dozens have been charged, including 33 parents, 10 coaches and college athletics officials, and seven others accused of orchestrating bribes or a separate scheme to cheat on college entrance exams.