Agustin Huneeus Jr., a Napa Valley winemaker, was sentenced on Friday to five months in prison for SAT cheating and bribing his daughter’s admission to USC, as part of the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.
Huneeus pleaded guilty to the charges in May, after admitting to paying scandal mastermind William “Rick” Singer. With Singer’s help, parents involved in the scandal tried to subvert the college admissions process and falsify test scores.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani gave Huneeus five months of prison time, two years of supervised release, a $100,000 fine and 500 hours of community service, according to the court ruling. Prosecutors previously recommended giving him 15 months in prison with one year of supervised release along with a $95,000 fine.
Huneeus’ sentencing is the longest of any delivered to the parents charged in the scandal thus far. He is the second USC-related parent to be sentenced in the case. Devon Sloane, the first parent to be charged, was sentenced to four months in prison along with fines and community service hours in September.
Huneeus agreed to pay Singer $200,000 for his services and did wire $50,000 to an account titled “USC Women’s Athletic Board,” which was controlled by former USC Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator, Donna Heinel. She was fired in March and pleaded not guilty to her involvement in the scandal shortly after. Heinel has pleaded not guilty.
According to the FBI affidavit, “Heinel presented Huneeus’ daughter to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions on Nov. 2, 2018, using a falsified profile that depicted her as a competitive water polo player.”
Huneeus received a conditional acceptance letter from Heinel, forwarded by Singer in November 2018, of his daughter’s admission to USC. Huneeus asked his “executive assistant to send a $50,000 check to Heinel by FedEx, payable to “USC Women’s Athletics Board” with the memo line referencing his daughter,” according to the FBI affidavit.
The news of the scandal broke in March 2019 before Huneeus’ daughter received a formal admission package. Huneeus did not end up sending Singer the $200,000 he agreed. USC said all class of 2023 applicants linked to the scheme were denied admission.
Huneeus stepped down as Chief Executive of Huneeus Vinters before he pleaded guilty in March. His father, Agustin Huneeus Sr., has re-assumed leadership.
Huneeus also paid Singer $50,000 to cheat on the SAT test.
The next sentencing of a USC-related parent in the “Varsity Blues” case will be for Jeffery Bizzack on Oct. 30, 2019.
Editor note: since Huneeus’ daughter did not enroll at USC, this article refers to Huneeus as a “USC-related parent” instead of “USC parent.”