A Hot Pockets heiress and a former bond bigwig can’t start serving their college scam sentences in the luxury of their own homes during the pandemic, a judge has ruled.
Instead, snack food scion Michelle Janavs and ex-PIMCO boss Douglas Hodge can simply wait until June 30 to self-report to prison, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton said Thursday.
If the coronavirus crisis hasn’t “abated” enough by then, they can renew their motions for home detention, he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented and continually evolving cause of concern, and the court is cognizant of the particular transmission risk in penitentiary facilities,” Gorton wrote in his ruling. “Notwithstanding the current public health crisis, this federal judge will not forfeit his obligation to impose a sentence that is warranted by a defendant’s criminal conduct.”
Janavs, 49, was sentenced to five months after she admitted paying $100,000 to rig her two daughters’ ACT exams and another $200,000 to get one into the University of Southern California as a fake beach volleyball recruit.
Hodge, 62, was sentenced to nine months. Prosecutors said he paid $525,000 to get two of his seven kids into the University of Southern California as fake soccer and football team recruits.
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He also paid $325,000 to a Georgetown University coach to have his oldest daughter and son admitted to the elite school as tennis recruits, prosecutors said.
Janavs filed paperwork last week saying she has an undisclosed health issue that could put her life at risk if she contracts coronavirus behind bars.
Her lawyers said COVID-19 is “spreading throughout” the federal prison system, and she faced a “much higher risk than others of serious complications, hospitalization, or death" if she became infected.
Judge Gorton previously showed mercy to another parent convicted in the college scheme, ordering his early release because of the pandemic.
Toby Macfarlane, an ex-real estate executive from Southern California who paid $450,000 to sneak his kids into USC, was released to home confinement after his lawyers argued his conditions behind bars put him at serious risk of contracting coronavirus.