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Liquor Exec Gets 6 Weeks in Prison for College Admissions Scam

The CEO of a liquor distributor allegedly paid $500,000 to get her son into college as a fake athletic recruit.

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BOSTON (AP) — The chief executive of a California liquor distribution company who authorities say paid $500,000 to get her son into college as a bogus athletic recruit was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment on Thursday.

Marci Palatella, of Hillsborough, California, was sentenced in Boston federal court after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud. She agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in August, less than a month before she was scheduled to face trial.

Palatella was accused of paying $500,000 to get her son into the University of Southern California as a football recruit even though he wouldn’t really play on the team.

Prosecutors previously agreed to dismiss the other charge she was facing — conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery — in exchange for her guilty plea.

Her sentence also includes two years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Palatella was among 50 parents, athletic coaches and others charged in the case in 2019 that embroiled elite universities across the country.

More than 30 other parents have pleaded guilty, including TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

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