Marci Palatella, the CEO of liquor distribution company in California, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Ms. Palatella, who is married to former 49ers player, Lou Palatella, was sentenced to six weeks in jail, a $250,000 fine, two years probation, and 500 hours of community service. According to the indictment, Ms. Palatella worked with William “Rick” Singer to funnel $500,000 to Mr. Singer and others to have her son admitted to USC as a football recruit. Her son, however, does not play football. There are five more parents scheduled to go to trial.
The jail sentences have been light and the fines hefty in these pay-not-to-play-but-stil-get-into-college-Rick-Singer plans. For all of us who have crossed a line with homework “help,” the cases are a stark reminder of the reality of the slippery slope. Truth percolates, and the fall-out is great.