USC Professor Agrees to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

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LOS ANGELES,USA - OCTOBER 1 2013: USC Viterbi School of Engineering on the campus of the University of Southern California. USC is a private, non-profit research university founded in 1880 with its main campus in Los Angeles, California

BOSTON – A California parent has agreed to plead guilty to a tax offense in connection with his involvement in the college admissions case.

Homayoun Zadeh, 59, an associate professor of dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC), has agreed to plead guilty to a superseding information charging him with one count of filing a false tax return. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled. Under the terms of Zadeh’s plea agreement, the parties have agreed to a sentence, subject to the Court’s approval, of six weeks in prison, one year of supervised release with 250 hours of community service and a fine of $20,000.

As set forth in the charging document, Zadeh agreed with William “Rick” Singer to pay $100,000 to facilitate the admission of Zadeh’s daughter to USC.  Zadeh made installment payments toward that total to Singer’s purported charitable foundation, the Key Worldwide Foundation, and deducted the payments from his taxes as a purported gift to charity, despite knowing that they were not legitimate charitable contributions, but were made in exchange for facilitating his daughter’s admission to USC.  

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Singer has previously pleaded guilty for his role in the college admissions scheme.


Zadeh will be the 31st parent to plead guilty in the case.  

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents, and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

The charge of filing a false tax return provides for a sentence of up three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Mark Deckett, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney, Ian J. Stearns, Karin M. Bell and Stephen E. Frank of Mendell’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

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The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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