Defendant was arrested in Spain Monday as government seeks extradition

Spanish authorities arrested a Chinese woman Monday in connection with her role in using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate her son’s admission to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) as a purported soccer recruit.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, was arrested in Spain and charged in an indictment unsealed today in federal court in Boston with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Sui is currently detained in Spain, and authorities will seek her extradition to Boston to face charges.

According to the indictment, Sui agreed with William “Rick” Singer to pay $400,000 to facilitate her son’s admission to UCLA as a purported soccer recruit. It is alleged that during a phone call in August 2018, Singer explained that Sui’s son could be “guaranteed” admission to UCLA, in exchange for $400,000. Between August and October 2018, Sui allegedly provided Singer with her son’s transcript and photographs of her son playing tennis. Co-conspirator Laura Janke then fabricated a soccer profile for Sui’s son, which described him as a top player for two private soccer clubs in Canada. On Oct. 24, 2018, Singer instructed Sui to wire Singer $100,000 which would be “paid to the coach at UCLA” in exchange for a letter of intent from the UCLA soccer coach. Two days later, Sui allegedly wired $100,000 to a bank account in Massachusetts in the name of Singer’s sham charitable organization, the Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF). On Nov. 5, 2018, UCLA admitted Sui’s son as a recruited soccer player, and awarded him a 25% scholarship. In February 2018, Sui allegedly wired an additional $300,000 to the KWF account as final payment for her son’s fraudulent admission to UCLA.

Janke previously pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, and Kristen A. Kearney of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit are prosecuting the cases.

The details contained in the court documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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