The college-admissions scam alleged by the Justice Department on Tuesday truly has it all: TV actresses, Wall Street executives, an à la carte menu of bespoke cheating services, fake athletic honors, kids being designated soccer and water polo recruits despite having never played either, and a standardized test whiz “smart enough to get a near-perfect score on demand or to calibrate the score” for which parents had pre-paid. At this point, it would be something of a letdown to learn that the basis of the “Operation Varsity Blues” investigation was too dull to serve as a plot point in the obvious forthcoming prestige drama. Luckily, it turns out it’s 100 percent perfect. Per The Wall Street Journal:
The tipster who led federal authorities to the biggest college-admissions scam they have ever prosecuted was Morrie Tobin, a Los Angeles financial executive who was being investigated in a securities fraud case, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Mr. Tobin was being questioned in an alleged pump-and-dump investment scheme—in which people conspire to inflate the price of a stock so they can sell it at a profit—when he offered a tip to federal authorities in an effort to obtain leniency, according to people familiar with the matter.
According to the Journal, Tobin told investigators that the head women’s soccer coach at Yale had tried to extract a bribe from him in exchange for getting his daughter into the school. To help the Feds nail the guy, Tobin wore a wire while meeting with the coach, Rudy Meredith, in a Boston hotel room. During that April 2018 meeting, Meredith said he could designate Tobin’s daughter as a recruit for the reasonable fee of $450,000. (Within the month, Meredith had agreed to cooperate with federal investigators.)
Tobin, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud, is scheduled to be sentenced in June. Prosecutors have recommended the forfeiture of $4 million and 36 months of supervised release, which is apparently “at the low end of the sentencing guidelines.” Really, the script just writes itself.
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Lawsuit: You made me go to Stanford!
Elsewhere in the college-admissions scam fallout, the first inevitable lawsuit has been filed by two women who were rejected from U.S.C. and Yale and forced to slum it at . . . Stanford:
Two Stanford students have filed a class-action complaint against the schools involved in the massive nationwide college cheating scandal, claiming they didn’t get a fair shot in their applications to the universities.
Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods are suing the schools enmeshed in the racketeering scandal, including Yale University; Georgetown University; the University of Texas; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; University of San Diego; and Stanford University. . . . According to court documents, Olsen and Woods alleged that they were both “qualified” students when they applied to prestigious schools like Yale and U.S.C. However, they were unaware that “unqualified students were slipping in through the back door of the admissions process by committing fraud, bribery, cheating, and dishonesty” during their admissions process.
The two women also say their degrees have been devalued by the scam allegedly run by William “Rick” Singer. “[Woods’s] degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials,” the suit reads.
Private-equity exec charged in college-admissions scam a private-equity exec no longer
After being put on leave literally one day prior, William McGlashan has been fired by private-equity giant TPG, where he founded the retroactively ironic “social impact funds.” According to Bloomberg, the company is allowing investors to withdraw their commitments in the Rise Fund II LP vehicle, which is still hoping to close the year with $3 billion, if you know anyone who’s interested. In a statement, a spokesperson for the firm wrote: “Bill McGlashan has been terminated for cause from his positions with TPG and Rise effective immediately. After reviewing the allegations of personal misconduct in the criminal complaint, we believe the behavior described to be inexcusable and antithetical to the values of our entire organization.” In a note to board members, McGlashan said that he had resigned and is “deeply sorry this very difficult situation may interfere with the work to which I have devoted my life.” He added that “there are aspects of the story that have yet to emerge that I wish I could share.”
Facebook execs are gonna take off now
Apparently not everyone is thrilled with Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he’ll be rejiggering the entire site:
Two Facebook Inc. senior executives said Thursday that they would leave the company—surprise departures that come days after C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg announced a major shift in direction for the company. Chris Cox, who is chief product officer and considered a confidant of Mr. Zuckerberg, said he decided to leave the company, as did Chris Daniels. Mr. Daniels last year was named head of the WhatsApp unit.
Mr. Zuckerberg last week said he wanted to reorient the company to focus more on private messaging and communications, rather than public sharing.
In a statement, Cox, who was reportedly considered to be Zuckerberg’s most likely successor, thanked him for “creating this place, and for the chance to work beside a dear friend for over thirteen years.”
U.K. Parliament Votes to Delay Brexit as Turmoil Drags On (W.S.J.)
Mnuchin’s Hollywood Ties Raise Ethical Questions in China Talks (N.Y.T.)
One hedge funder emailed the “Billions” creators (who declined to identify him) to complain about Axelrod’s dinky private plane. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that sardine can,” he wrote. (N.Y.T.)
At tense meeting with Boeing executives, pilots fumed about being left in dark on plane software (The Washington Post)
Uber reportedly plans to kick off I.P.O. roadshow next month (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs lays off dozens of traders (N.Y.P.)
Steve Wynn Met with Treasury Officials About Opportunity Zones After Stock Sale (W.S.J.)
Son defends parents caught in college-admissions scandal while smoking blunt (N.Y.P.)
More Great Stories from Vanity Fair
— What does “elite university” even mean? Why we should rethink the whole gambit.
— Why Democratic 2020 hopefuls should think about getting off Twitter
— Mike Pompeo is sure acting like a guy running for president
— Nick Bilton on Mark Zuckerberg’s false promise
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