(Bloomberg) — California real estate executive Bruce Isackson was worried when the mastermind of a massive college admissions scam told him he was being audited by the IRS. So he invited William “Rick” Singer to his home for a confidential chat.
“I’m so paranoid” about the scheme Singer had lured him into, an agitated Isackson told the corrupt admissions strategist. “I don’t even like talking about it on the phone.”
What he didn’t know was that Singer was wearing a wire and the FBI was listening in. The recording, played in federal court in Boston this week, was so damning that Isackson and his wife became the first parents to plead guilty in the sprawling case, admitting they paid Singer $600,000 to get their two daughters into the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California as purported athletes. The couple awaits sentencing.
Isackson, who told jurors he is hoping for leniency in exchange for his testimony, was the government’s first witness in the trial of John B. Wilson, 62, a private equity investor, and Gamal Abdelaziz, 64, a former Wynn Resorts Ltd. executive. They are accused of conspiring with Singer to pay bribes to get their kids into USC as phony athletic recruits.
They’re the first of a half dozen parents still fighting federal charges to go on trial, after 33 others pleaded guilty. None of the colleges or students in the case were charged.
Prosecutors called Isackson as a witness Monday in an effort to…