A former La Jolla media executive who paid more than $500,000 to get her children into prestigious universities as part of the wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Elisabeth Kimmel, 57, is the 32nd parent to plead guilty in the case, in which defendants paid millions of dollars in bribes in order to secure spots for their children at schools across the country.
Though the conspiracy count carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years, Kimmel is expected to receive a sentence of six weeks in prison, two years of supervised release — half of which includes home confinement — a $250,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.
A Dec. 9 sentencing hearing was set before a federal judge in Boston, where the case is being prosecuted.
Kimmel, who now lives in Las Vegas, previously owned KFMB in San Diego until the station was sold to Tegna in 2018.
Prosecutors said Kimmel paid $275,000 to get her daughter into Georgetown University and $250,000 to facilitate her son’s admission into the University of Southern California. In both instances, her children were falsely admitted to the schools as athletic recruits.
Prosecutors allege Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst arranged for Kimmel’s daughter to get a tennis admission slot, though she didn’t play for the tennis team in any of her four years at the university.
Kimmel’s son was admitted as a pole vault recruit, with his application describing him as “one of the top pole vaulters in the state of California,” though his high school had no record that he ever took part in pole vaulting or track and field.
According to the complaint filed in 2019, Kimmel’s son apparently expressed confusion when an adviser at his USC orientation asked him about being a track athlete.
The scheme’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, pleaded guilty in early 2019, but has yet to be sentenced.
Ernst is slated to go on trial later this year.