Ex-tennis academy president pleads guilty in admissions scam

Lawyer: Admissions scandal is a wake-up call

The former president of a private tennis academy in Texas pleaded guilty on Friday in connection with the college admissions scandal, authorities said. Martin Fox facilitated bribes to two other individuals involved in the scheme, collecting $245,000 in the process, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a news release. 

The 62-year-old pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering after agreeing to a plea deal in late October. He could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years at the February 14 hearing — but in exchange for his plea, the government will recommend a sentence at the low end of the sentencing guidelines, as well as one year of supervised release, a fine and restitution. He will also return the money he received from the scheme. 

In 2015, Fox introduced William “Rick” Singer — the alleged mastermind behind the scheme — to Michael Center, a tennis coach at the University of Texas, according to the release. Fox helped facilitate a bribe to Center, in exchange for him admitting the son of one of Singer’s clients as a purported tennis recruit. In return, Singer paid Fox $100,000, prosecutors said. Center pled guilty in April to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and will be sentenced in February.

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In the three years that followed, Fox also facilitated bribes to Niki Williams, a test administrator for the ACT and SAT, according to the release. Williams then “allowed someone else to purportedly proctor the exams, despite knowing that this person was not proctoring the exam consistent with ACT and SAT requirements,” the release said. 

Singer typically gave Fox $25,000 per client, for four total clients, and Fox funneled some of that money to Williams, the release said. Williams, who faces charges including conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, has pled not guilty. 

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