Former Pimco chief Douglas Hodge is just two weeks away from reporting to prison for his role in the U.S. college admissions scam. Now he’s asking a federal judge to reconsider his nine-month sentence.
Hodge says prosecutors withheld evidence before he was sentenced. In a court filing Thursday, he said he plans to ask the judge for a new hearing that takes that information into account.
“The recently disclosed exculpatory information (and likely the further, soon-to-be-released exculpatory information) supports Mr. Hodge’s contention that he made payments with the expectation that his money would support university athletic programs,” his lawyers said in the filing.
Hodge, who once safeguarded the retirement savings of millions of Americans, was sentenced last month for paying $850,000 in bribes to get four of his children into the University of Southern California and Georgetown University as phony soccer and tennis team recruits. He is scheduled to report to prison on March 20 and said in his filing he’ll be there.
The government had asked for a two-year term, saying Hodge was among the “most culpable” of the parents it has prosecuted in the scandal. Before his sentencing on Feb. 7, Hodge’s lawyers sought leniency, comparing their client’s crimes to those of a parent in the case sentenced to six months behind bars, which had been the longest term.
“I have counseled my children to listen to that inner voice that tells them right from wrong,” Hodge told the judge at his hearing. “Well, I did not listen to mine.”
Read More: Ex-Pimco CEO Gets 9 Months in College Admissions Scam
Hodge’s term is the longest yet for a parent in the scandal, the biggest college admissions racket the U.S. has ever prosecuted. Hodge was the 14th parent to be sentenced.
William “Rick” Singer, the plot’s admitted mastermind, took tens of thousands of dollars from well-heeled parents to fix their children’s college entrance exams and hundreds of thousands to bribe college sports coaches to put their kids’ names on recruiting lists, ensuring a place at top schools including USC, Georgetown, Stanford, Yale and many others. Some parents did both.
More than 50 people, including 36 parents, have been charged. A total of 21 parents have admitted to fraud. Besides the parents and Singer himself, prosecutors charged employees of Singer, test administrators and college athletic coaches. None of the students or colleges were charged.
Some of the 15 parents fighting the charges say Singer took notes on his phone that support their claim that they thought their payments were legitimate donations. The notes are “not only exculpatory, but exonerating for the defendants the government has charged with bribery,” lawyers for “Full House” TV star Lori Loughlin and her husband, the fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, told U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston last month.
In their filing Thursday, Hodge’s lawyers said “the government’s inappropriate withholding” of the evidence “deprived the court of its ability to evaluate Mr. Hodge’s argument based on all available information.”
Read More: Lori Loughlin, McGlashan Point to New Proof in College Scandal
Prosecutors had argued that Hodge committed fraud despite enjoying “extreme, almost unfathomable privilege” as the leader of the giant bond manager Pacific Investment Management Co. He used Singer’s phony-recruit scheme more often and longer than any of the other parents charged in the scandal.
“When no one was looking, this defendant stole four admissions spots,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin O’Connell said at the sentencing, adding that Hodge, who paid the first of his bribes in 2008, took tax deductions on his bribes and “put his own children in harm’s way.”
In seeking leniency, the defense said Hodge gave away 60% of his pay during his four years as CEO at Pimco. Before his sentence was pronounced, his attorney Brien O’Connor said Hodge had led a life “dedicated to providing thousands of children from impoverished backgrounds with the opportunity to improve their lives.”
The judge said Hodge had harmed not only USC and Georgetown but also “the entire system of education in this country.” He said he would have sentenced Hodge to a year but gave him “a discount” for his extensive philanthropy.
Gorton ordered him to pay a fine of $750,000 and do 500 hours of community service. He said he would recommend Hodge serve his time near New York City, where his family lives.
The case is U.S. v. Sidoo, 19-cr-10080, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).
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