British Columbia

B.C. mom facing additional charges in U.S. college admissions scandal

U.S. authorities have laid four more charges against Xiaoning Sui alleging she paid $400,000 in bribes to get her son into UCLA.

Xiaoning Sui allegedly paid $400K in bribes to get her son into UCLA on a soccer scholarship

In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo, students walk on the University of California, Los Angeles campus. U.S. authorities have laid more charges against a Surrey, B.C., mother alleged to have paid $400,000 in bribes to get her son into UCLA. (Damian Dovarganes/The Associated Press)

 A Surrey, B.C., mother who allegedly paid $400,000 in bribes to get her son into UCLA is facing four additional charges in the U.S.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, is now charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and federal programs bribery, two counts of international money laundering and three counts of wire fraud, according to documents filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts.

According to the revised indictment, the scheme was run through William (Rick) Singer — the mastermind of the vast U.S. college admissions scandal —  and resulted in Sui's son being granted admission to UCLA on a soccer scholarship, even though he had never played soccer.

The indictment says an unidentified recruiter introduced Sui to Singer on Aug. 24, 2018 during a conference call that included a Chinese translator.

During the call, Singer told Sui to set aside $400,000 and assured her that her son would not "know anything is happening."

William 'Rick' Singer leaves the federal courthouse in Boston on March 12 after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The indictment names UCLA men's soccer head coach Jorge Salcedo, UCLA women's soccer head coach Ali Khosroshahin and UCLA women's assistant soccer coach Lara Janke as co-conspirators.

Fake soccer profile

Authorities claim Sui sent photos of her son playing tennis that were manipulated by Janke to create a false soccer profile that included faked photos and awards and claims he was a top player for two elite soccer clubs in Canada. 

The profile was used by Salcedo to recommend the son for a 25 per cent soccer scholarship to UCLA. Salcedo further vouched for his admission by falsely claiming he had seen the son play in China, and that "he has good quickness and speed."

During a conference call on Oct. 24, 2018, Singer told Sui to transfer him $100,000 to pay off the soccer coach, which she did. The indictment says Singer paid Khosroshahin $25,000 for "brokering" the designation of the son as a soccer recruit.

Jorge Salcedo, the former men's soccer head coach at UCLA, was allegedly paid $100,000 for his part in the scheme. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

In November 2018, the son signed an official letter of intent to play for the UCLA men's soccer team.

In February 2019, Sui wired the remaining $300,000 from Canada to a bank account in Massachusetts controlled by Singer. 

Arrested in Spain

Sui was arrested this month in Spain and is being detained pending extradition to Boston.

Singer, Khosroshahin and Janke have all pleaded guilty to various charges in the wider scandal, which involves dozens of wealthy parents accused of paying bribes and lying to officials to get their children into prestigious U.S. colleges.

Salcedo has pleaded not guilty.

None of the allegations against Sui have been tested in court.

A charge of conspiracy to commit wire and federal programs bribery comes with a maximum prison sentence of five years.

International money laundering and wire fraud charges each carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

UCLA previously declined to comment on the status of Sui's son, citing policy that bans school official from commenting on individual applicants.

Earlier this year, Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering after allegedly paying Singer $200,000 US to have someone pose as his two sons to write their B.C. high school exams and SATs, a standardized college admission test.

About the Author

Karin Larsen

@CBCLarsen

Karin Larsen is a former Olympian and award winning sports broadcaster who covers news and sports for CBC Vancouver.