A former top investment manager who prosecutors say has “unlimited resources” appeared Wednesday in federal court in Boston to face charges for allegedly paying bribes to get three of his children into Georgetown and USC as part of a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.
Douglas Hodge, 61, of Laguna Beach, Calif., did not enter a plea during his brief appearance in US District Court in Boston, where’s he is charged with two mail fraud-related counts.
He was released on $500,000 bond, despite entreaties from Assistant US Attorney Eric S. Rosen, who told the court Hodge was a flight risk with “unlimited resources” and facing a maximum prison term of 20 years if convicted.
Hodge was in court as the fallout spread in the massive alleged cheating scam involving dozens of wealthy parents.
Actress Lori Loughlin surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday ahead of a court appearance. Loughlin and her husband,
fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither is a rower. A date has yet to be set for Loughlin’s initial appearance in Boston.
The US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts said that another actress, Felicity Huffman, is due to make an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on March 29. Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation to entities controlled by William “Rick” Singer, the admitted ringleader of the scheme, so her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scam.
Hodge, the former CEO of Pimco who holds degrees from Dartmouth and Harvard, began working with Singer in 2008, when Hodge sought to help one of his daughters gain admission to Georgetown University, according to an FBI affidavit.
Singer told Hodge in a February 2008 e-mail that his daughter had only a 50-50 chance of getting accepted based on her academic record, but “there may be an Olympic Sports angle we can use,” the affidavit said.
Hodge’s daughter submitted an application to Georgetown indicating she had won multiple United States Tennis Association tournaments, but records showed she had never played in a USTA match, the filing said.
The daughter was accepted to Georgetown with assistance from the tennis coach, now charged criminally in connection with the scheme, and she never played tennis at the elite university, records show.
In 2013, the affidavit said, Hodge linked up with Singer again, this time to help another daughter get into the University of Southern California. She was presented to a university committee as a soccer recruit, under false claims that she played on a national champion tournament team, records show. Hodge’s daughter got into USC but never played soccer.
In December 2014, records show, Hodge asked Singer via e-mail if his son, then a high school student, was “really qualified” for USC, adding, “He would go there in a heartbeat!!”
Singer responded, “No but I can try to work a deal . . . maybe Basketball or Football will give me a spot since their kids are not that strong.”
In January 2015, Hodge’s wife e-mailed Singer and noted that she couldn’t find photos of their son playing football but had pictures of his brother on the gridiron, records show.
Singer forwarded the note to a then-USC assistant soccer coach now charged criminally in the scheme, writing, “See below — I am sure there is a tennis one too. The boys look alike so I thought a football one would help too?”
The son was ultimately admitted to USC as a purported football recruit but never joined the team, the filing said.
Hodge’s next court date in Boston hasn’t been set.