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Ex-Texas tennis coach Michael Center pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

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April 24 (UPI) — A former University of Texas men’s tennis coach pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting bribes as part of a national college admissions scandal.

Michael Center, 55, entered the guilty plea and agreed to cooperate in a U.S. government investigation into wealthy parents, including Hollywood actors and other celebrities, who paid bribes to have their children accepted to prestigious universities.

Center was accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud related to the scheme.

On Wednesday, Center told the court he accepted a $100,000 bribe from the alleged mastermind of the scheme, William “Rick” Singer, to designate a student to the tennis team on a “books scholarship” facilitating his admission to the university.

Beginning in 2014, Center conspired with a Houston man named Martin Fox to help the student be recruited as a tennis player “without regard to his athletic ability.”

Center said that $40,000 from the bribe was donated to Texas Athletics and he admitted to a forfeiture of $60,000 “on the grounds that it is equal to the amount the process of the defendant derived from the offense,” according to his plea deal.

The university fired Center in March due to his alleged role in the scandal.

He could face between 15 months and 21 months in prison for the mail fraud charges.

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