Hot Pockets Heiress Faces Prison for College Admissions Scam

Carla Harmon
February 27, 2020

A California woman whose family's company created the microwavable snack Hot Pockets faces sentencing on Tuesday for paying $300,000 to people who helped her two daughters cheat on college entrance exams and helped one win admission to the University of Southern California as a fake volleyball recruit.

Janavs admitted to paying the consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, $100,000 to have a proctor correct her two daughters' ACT exam answers.

Janavs, of Newport Coast, California, is among almost two dozen prominent parents who have admitted to participating in the scheme by paying huge sums to people willing to cheat on entrance exams for their children or pretend their kids were star athletes for sports they didn't play.

Prosecutors didn't get almost what they wanted. they recommended 21 months, calling her one of the "most culpable parents" charged in the case who refused to accept responsibility for her actions until months after she was busted.

She also agreed to spend another $200,000 to have one daughter recruited as a beach volleyball player at the University of Southern California - but she was arrested before her daughter could be admitted and had not yet coughed up all the cash, prosecutors said.

She is the 15th parent sentenced as part of the college admissions scandal, which rocked Hollywood and wealthy enclaves across the United States.

Before hearing her sentence, the judge made it clear Janavs had caused harm to the USA system of higher education. and prosecutors blasted her, claiming she held an "attitude that she is untouchable" and "no one could stop her". Prosecutors have asked Gorton to commit them to prison for 26 and 18 months, respectively.

In court papers filed before her sentencing, Janavs' attorneys said that Singer, who has pleaded guilty to four felonies and cooperated with the government, made Janavs believe USC was the ideal school for her daughter, then convinced Janavs "that cheating was the only way for her to get in".

USC has since rescinded her daughter's admissions offer, according to Janavs' lawyers.

All three have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

The judge told Janavs that prison time was needed to deter others who might have the gall to use their wealth to break the law and dismissed her argument that her actions were motivated by a love for her children. Janavs conspired with Singer for a shorter time, and paid him far less, than many of his other clients, they said.

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