The former CEO of an investment firm was sentenced to nine months in prison for bribing his children’s way into elite universities. It is the longest sentence yet of any parent involved in the college admissions scandal known as “Operation Varsity Blues.” Prosecutors say Douglas Hodge, ex-CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co., or PIMCO, paid $850,000 in bribes to get four of his children into USC and Georgetown University as fake athletic recruits. Prosecutors had recommended sending Hodge, 62, to prison for two years
A federal judge branded the former head of bond giant Pimco a “common thief” and sentenced him to nine months in prison for his role in the sweeping college admissions cheating scandal. Douglas Hodge, who had earlier admitted paying $850,000 in bribes to get four of his seven children admitted to elite colleges, also had his request to serve out part of his sentence at home turned down by the judge.
“I have in my heart the deepest remorse for my actions,” a teary-eyed Hodge told Judge Nathaniel Groton in Boston. “I do not believe that ego or desire for high social standing drove my decision-making. Rather, I was driven by my own transformative educational experiences and my deep parental love.” In his statement, Hodge also absolved his children, saying they “did nothing to deserve the consequences they have suffered as a result of my actions.”
Groton was unmoved. “Mr. Hodge, your conduct in this whole sordid affair is appalling and mind-boggling,” Groton said. “There is no term in the English language that describes your conduct as well as the Yiddish term chutzpah.” Groton then imposed on Hodge, a Dartmouth and Harvard graduate, charged with money laundering and wire and mail fraud charges, the stiffest punishment among 14 parents who have been sentenced thus far. Groton also denied Hodge’s request to split his sentence with home confinement int the palatial Pacific Coast mansion in Laguna Beach, California. He also ordered him to pay $750,000 in fines, and perform 500 hours of community service.