Laguna man gets 9 months in prison in college admissions case
By Daniel Langhorne | LB Indy
The former chief executive of the Newport Beach-based investment firm PIMCO was sentenced Friday to nine months in federal prison on conspiracy charges, marking the most severe punishment in the college admissions fraud scandal.
Douglas Hodge, 62, of Laguna Beach, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and pay fines totaling $750,000. Hodge was ordered to self-surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on March 20.
“Fueled by arrogance and entitlement, the defendants’ actions demonstrate a stunning disregard for basic principles of fair play and common decency,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin O’Connell wrote in a court brief.
After his March 2019 arrest, the former Pacific Investment Management Co. chief executive rejected a plea deal for a single fraud conspiracy charge and was subsequently indicted on an additional charge of money laundering conspiracy.
Hodge changed his mind last October after prosecutors warned parents arguing they were innocent that they could be charged with committing federal program bribery, people familiar with the negotiations told the Los Angeles Times.
In pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton, Hodge copped to paying William “Rick” Singer, the Newport Beach consultant at the center of the scandal, $525,000 to get two of his children admitted to the University of Southern California through fraudulent athletic recruitment.
Over nearly 11 years, Hodge engaged Singer five separate times, successfully employing bribery and fraud to secure the admission of two of his children to Georgetown University, and two to the University of Southern California, prosecutors wrote in a court brief.
“They corrupted the educational system and undermined public trust,” O’Connell wrote. “And they stopped only because they either ran out of children, or ran out of time, before they got caught.”
Hodge knowingly allowed Singer to fabricate his daughter’s credentials as a tennis player for admission to Georgetown University, prosecutors allege. Her application to Georgetown even mentioned she purportedly built a tennis court in a Cambodian jungle. Before his daughter’s Georgetown interview, Hodge told Singer that “it would not be good at all if tennis in Cambodia came up.”
Prosecutors recommended last week that Hodge be sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, according to court documents.
“I acted out of love for my children,” Hodge said in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times, “but I know that this explanation for my actions is not an excuse.”
Sage Hill School declined to add to a previous statement issued after Hodge and Michelle Janavs pled guilty last year.
“The actions of two former members of the Board of Trustees detailed in this case do not in any way reflect Sage Hill School’s mission, values, and vision,” school officials previously said.