A well-heeled California couple paid $250,000 worth of Facebook stock to weasel their non-athletic daughter into UCLA as a soccer recruit for one of the best programs in the nation, according to court papers.
Lauren Isackson is listed as midfielder No. 41 on UCLA’s soccer team in 2017 — the same year the elite squad finished second to national champion Stanford, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But prosecutors say her impressive soccer experience, listed on the same site, was all a ruse. Lauren never actually played competitive soccer, nor a single game for UCLA.
Her father, Bruce, president of real estate development firm WP Investments, and mother, Davina, are among 50 people charged in the widespread college cheating scam in which wealthy parents, such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, allegedly paid bribes to get their kids into top schools like Georgetown, USC, Stanford, Yale and UCLA.
The Isacksons are accused of giving crooked college prep expert William “Rick” Singer 2,150 shares of Facebook stock worth about $251,249 to get Lauren a spot at the school as a soccer recruit.
Singer used a “falsified soccer profile” to fast-track Lauren’s admission in 2016 and paid off former college coaches in the process, court papers say.
Lauren’s athletic profile, which is still active, notes that she was the team captain for the Woodside soccer club from 2012 to 2016, earned MVP honors in 2015 as well as an honorable mention in local rankings the year before.
But Zak Ibsen, the head of the club in Woodside, said he’s never heard of her.
“Nobody remembers this girl’s name,” he told the LA Times. “Smells fishy to me.”
Lauren’s freshman soccer teammates, meanwhile, were brimming with actual talent — and included the top recruit in the country, a member of the Canadian national team and five players on the US youth national team.
Lauren was required to play on the team for at least one year as per the UCLA student-athlete admissions committee. But she played zero minutes and made no appearances in games, according to her profile on the Pac-12 website.
The team finished the 2017 season at 19-3-3.
In a secretly recorded meeting with Singer, Bruce Isackson allegedly admitted he was “so paranoid” that their scheme would unravel and didn’t want to talk on the phone in case the lines were tapped, court papers said.
He also worried that it could be a “front page story” if someone found out that they allegedly cheated Lauren’s way into school and be an “embarrassment to everyone in the communities.”
UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg said he was barred from discussing individual students, citing student privacy laws.
But he said teams at UCLA were composed of “student-athletes with varying levels of athletic achievements.”
“Some team members are on the roster for the purposes of preparing the team for competition, and may not play in games,” he told the LA Times.
Lauren couldn’t be reached and a lawyer for her parents declined to comment.