A former tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin is slated to plead guilty Wednesday afternoon in federal court in Boston for his alleged role in the nationwide college admissions cheating scandal, records show.
Michael Center, 54, of Austin, Texas, will admit to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud at the Moakley Courthouse in the Seaport, legal filings show. Prosecutors are expected to recommend a sentence at the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines range for the crime, plus an order that he forfeit $60,000, his plea agreement says.
The former coach is one of 50 people charged in the breathtaking scheme, in which wealthy parents paid bribes to get their children falsely certified as athletic recruits at fancy colleges and universities, or to facilitate cheating on their kids’ SAT and ACT exams.
Center is accused of accused of helping an applicant get into UT Austin by falsely designating the student as a tennis recruit. In exchange, he allegedly accepted a $60,000 cash payment for himself and donations totaling $40,000 to UT athletics.
“Defendant admits that $60,000 is subject to forfeiture on the grounds that it is equal to the amount of proceeds the defendant derived from the offense,” Center’s plea deal says.
A number of other defendants, including Hollywood star Felicity Huffman, have also agreed to plead guilty.
Thirty-three parents, some of whom were celebrities, were charged in the scam. Actress Felicity Huffman is among a group of 14 parents who have agreed to plead guilty, while actress Lori Loughlin is among a group of 19 parents who are under indictment.