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Prosecutors Drop the Case Against Former University Coach Involved in the College Admissions Bribery Scandal

Records unsealed on Tuesday reveal federal prosecutors have pledged to drop their case against a former Wake Forest University coach involved in the college admissions bribery scandal if he pays a $50,000 fine and fulfills certain conditions. Prosecutors will move to dismiss his case after 24 months, provided he pays the fine and follows the terms of the agreement.

According to a deferred prosecution agreement filed in the case of William Ferguson, the former coach acknowledges responsibility for his role in the scam. The disclosure of the agreement, which no other defendant charged in the massive case has received thus far, comes just days after prosecutors won guilty verdicts in the first trial in the high-profile scandal against two wealthy parents accused of paying their children’s way into school as athletic recruits.

Wake Forest University (Photo: Pinterest)

Ferguson Was Charged With Mail And Wire Fraud Conspiracy

Ferguson and Donna Heinel, former University of Southern California senior associate athletic director and ex-USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic were slated to go on trial in November. He was charged with mail and wire fraud conspiracy and honest services mail and wire fraud.

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Messages seeking response were directed to Ferguson’s lawyers and the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, where all of the college admissions scandal cases are being prosecuted. According to prosecutors, the arrangement allows Ferguson to “show good conduct” and “represents an exercise of prosecutorial discretion to forego prosecution” of the accusation against him.

Ferguson Agreed with The Scheme’s Mastermind

According to a court-filed “statement of accepted facts,” Ferguson agreed in 2016 with the scheme’s mastermind, admissions consultant Rick Singer, to persuade other coaches to join with Singer to identify applicants as recruits in exchange for money for their athletic programs. According to the lawsuit, Ferguson attempted to get coaches at multiple institutions to cooperate with Singer.

Ferguson agreed with Singer to help get an applicant in as a recruit after he was hired as the head women’s volleyball coach at the Winston-Salem, North Carolina institution, according to the petition. The student was placed on the school’s waiting list. According to the lawsuit, Singer paid $100,000 to three accounts, including $40,000 to Wake Forest women’s volleyball and $50,000 to a private volleyball camp Ferguson managed.

Afterward, Ferguson subsequently transferred money from the camp’s account to his own bank account and utilized the proceeds for personal needs. Ferguson resigned from Wake Forest in 2019 after being arrested along with 49 other people in a case that shed light on the competitive college admissions process and the lengths some wealthy parents will go to get their children into elite universities. In total, 57 persons have been accused in the case, with roughly 40 of them pleading guilty.

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