Operation Varsity Blues: Last parent pleads guilty in college admissions bribery scandal

The last parent ensnared in Operation Varsity Blues – the captivating nationwide college admissions bribery scandal – has agreed to plead guilty, federal prosecutors said. 

Authorities said I-Hsin “Joey” Chen, 67, of Newport Beach, California, paid $75,000 to have someone correct his son’s answers on a college entrance exam. Under a plea deal, the owner of a warehousing company for the shipping industry will plead guilty to wire fraud and honest services wire fraud in exchange for serving a nine-week prison term, according to a statement Thursday from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. 

The terms of the deal also call for Chen to serve a year of probation, perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $75,000 fine, prosecutors said. 

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I-Hsin “Joey” Chen leaves Moakley Federal Court after his day in court on charges related to the college admissions scandal on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. 
(Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

Chen paid William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions consultant and the ringleader of the scheme, $75,000 to bribe a test administrator to allow a proctor to change his son’s ACT exam answers and boost his score, prosecutors said. 

Singer, the test administrator and the proctor have all pleaded guilty to their roles and await sentencing. 

William "Rick" Singer leaves the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on March 12, 2019. 

William “Rick” Singer leaves the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on March 12, 2019. 
(Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The plot involved dozens of famous and wealthy parents, including actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, paying large bribes to help their undeserving children gain admission to elite U.S. universities with rigged test scores or phony athletic accomplishments. 

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Lori Loughlin, center, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, behind her at right, leave the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on Aug. 27, 2019.

Lori Loughlin, center, and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, behind her at right, leave the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston on Aug. 27, 2019.
( John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Chen will be the 38th and final parent to either plead guilty or be convicted in the case, which also ensnared several college coaches and athletic administrators, prosecutors said. 

Chen had been scheduled for trial on Jan. 13. A date for the plea hearing, which is subject to court approval, has not been set. 

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