On February 25, the heiress to the Hot Pockets microwaveable snack fortune was sentenced to five months in prison for her part in a college admissions scandal. She must also pay a fine of $250,000. The scandal, which garnered substantial news coverage in 2019, involved parents paying a California college consultant to get their children into top universities through such fraudulent means as bribery or paying someone to take entrance exams.
The federal judge in Boston who sentenced the woman rejected both her request for probation and the prosecution’s request for a sentence of 21 months. The judge said that she deserved prison time for her part in corrupting the American college admissions system. The woman is one of more than 50 people charged in connection with the case, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison while Loughlin has pleaded not guilty.
The Hot Pockets heiress had agreed to pay a $200,000 bribe for one of her daughters to be listed as a recruit for a beach volleyball team. She also paid the consultant to have an associate take the ACT exams on behalf of her two daughters. The consultant pleaded guilty in March 2019 for his role. The man who took the test has also pleaded guilty for taking tests on behalf of others as well as altering tests.
As this case shows, the legal penalties for fraud can be severe. That’s why someone who’s involved in an investigation into white-collar crime at any level may want to consult with an attorney. Legal counsel could help a client understand their rights.