BOSTON — Before a crowded courtroom, former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, stood solemnly with his jaw clenched and pled guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court in Boston on Thursday afternoon.
The former coach, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, appeared twice at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse on Thursday. He first sat before U.S. District Judge Mary Page Kelley before pleading guilty in a hearing presided over by U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf ’68. At the meeting’s outset, Wolf asserted his impartiality despite giving “modest contributions” to the University and being “grateful to have gone” to Yale.
The program’s winningest coach publicly admitted at the hearing to taking bribes totaling almost one million dollars to vouch for several Yale applicants looking to gain admission into the University as recruits to the Yale women’s soccer team. At least one applicant never played competitive soccer at any level. That applicant, referred to as “Yale Applicant 1” in court documents, initially was accepted to Yale, but on Sunday, University spokesman Tom Conroy told the News that Yale had rescinded her admission. At the hearing, federal prosecutors revealed that the University had accepted Applicant 1 from the early action pool, though she submitted her application after the early action deadline.
According to prosecutors, a Los Angeles-based individual tipped off federal investigators about Meredith’s acceptance of bribes. The Wall Street Journal claims that this individual, who was implicated in an unrelated securities fraud case, is financial executive and Yale father Morrie Tobin. Government lawyers said that the first time they heard the name William “Rick” Singer — the mastermind behind the national college bribery scandal — was when Meredith mentioned it in a taped conversation between Meredith and the Los Angeles-based individual.
Singer’s for-profit admissions company, based out of Newport Beach, California, worked to get the children of wealthy parents into elite universities — such as Yale and Stanford — through what he called a “side door.” Singer’s network helped applicants cheat on standardized tests and fake athletic recruitment status. In total, Singer received $25 million in bribes and kickbacks while facilitating the admission of more than 750 students into prominent colleges nationwide.
Meredith worked with Singer to gain Applicant 1 admission to Yale, receiving $400,000 in bribes.
In court on Thursday, government lawyers said that the unnamed Los Angeles-based individual was the father of “Yale Applicant 2,” another student mentioned in the unsealed court documents who was never accepted to Yale. According to court documents, the father of Applicant 2 agreed to pay Meredith $450,000 in exchange for Meredith designating his daughter as a recruit for the Yale women’s soccer team.
Prosecutors said that this Los Angeles-based individual first met with Meredith in the early summer of 2017, when he began paying the coach on a monthly basis to facilitate Applicant 2’s admission to Yale. A search warrant was executed on this individual’s home around March 2018, after which he began cooperating with the FBI. The individual and Meredith met in a Boston hotel room the next month on April 12, 2018, to nail down the details of the transaction. The FBI secretly recorded the conversation.
Meredith actively worked as a cooperating witness for four months after the Boston hotel meeting. During this time, Meredith made several phone calls to Singer — who was based in California — on behalf of the FBI to corroborate emails and bank records obtained by government officials. Law enforcement was then able to wiretap Singer’s phone and discover that the Yale-related bribery was part of a much larger, national scheme.
After Meredith took the stand, his lawyer later claimed that Meredith did not know the extent of the national scheme but was “aware of the possibility.”
During the proceedings, when Judge Wolf asked how Meredith pled to the charges of wire fraud and conspiracy, Meredith curtly replied, “Guilty, your honor.”
Wolf also proceeded to ask Meredith whether he was aware of the consequences of pleading guilty.
When Wolf asked whether he knew that he would become a federal felon, Meredith, voice cracking, responded, “Yes, your honor.”
As Meredith left the building at around 4 p.m., he was greeted by a sea of photographers and reporters. National journalists from national outlets chased him and his legal counsel across the street and into a bright blue car with an Uber sticker.
Celebrities Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman, who are both implicated in the national scandal, are due to appear in the same Boston U.S. District Courthouse on April 3.
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