Former Media Executive to Plead Guilty in US College Admissions Scandal

By Reuters
August 12, 2021 Updated: August 12, 2021

BOSTON—A former media executive has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a vast U.S. college admissions fraud scheme by paying $525,000 to win admission for her children to top universities, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Elisabeth Kimmel, a former owner and president of San Diego-based Midwest Television, had been scheduled to go to trial in September in Boston alongside three other wealthy parents charged in the nationwide college admissions scandal.

Kimmel, 57, will instead plead guilty on Monday to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and agreed to spend six weeks in prison plus one year in home confinement.

The La Jolla, California, resident also agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Kimmel is one of 57 people charged over a scheme in which wealthy parents conspired with California college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer to fraudulently secure their children’s college admissions.

Singer pleaded guilty in 2019 to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of students to colleges as fake athletic recruits.

Thirty-two parents have pleaded guilty, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Several others continue to fight the charges.

Prosecutors said Kimmel paid Singer $275,000 in 2012 to help win her daughter’s admission to Georgetown University, with the help of tennis coach Gordon Ernst.

They said Kimmel also paid Singer $250,000 in 2017 to help her son get admitted to the University of Southern California as a pole vault recruit.

Prosecutors have accused Ernst of accepting $2.7 million in bribes from Singer to help students enter Georgetown. His lawyer in court on Tuesday said he was nearing a plea deal.