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HomeBusinessChinese citizen from Surrey, jailed in Spain, to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scandal

Chinese citizen from Surrey, jailed in Spain, to plead guilty in U.S. college admissions scandal


Bob Mackin

A Chinese citizen who normally lives in Surrey will plead guilty to a bribery charge in the college admissions scandal, according to court documents filed in Massachusetts.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain last summer after paying a $400,000 bribe to have her tennis-playing son recruited to the University of California Los Angeles soccer team so that he could study there. He had no prior competitive soccer experience, but was billed as a top player on two private teams in Canada.


A Jan. 23 letter from federal prosecutor Andrew Lelling to Sui’s lawyer Martin Weinberg said that “at the earliest practicable date” Sui shall plead guilty to federal programs bribery.

The charge carries up to 10 years jail, three years probation and $250,000 fine, but the deal would mean Sui would be sentenced to the time she has served in Spain while waiting for extradition. She would also be subject to a year’s probation and a fine to be determined by a judge.

Sui was the 52nd person charged, but not the first from British Columbia.

March 2019-arrested-and-bailed David Sidoo pleaded not guilty to paying $200,000 for an imposter to write his sons’ college admissions tests.

Sui was arrested Sept. 16 in Spain. An unsealed March 2019 indictment alleges that the scheme’s ringleader, Rick Singer, a Chinese translator and a recruiter who is not named held a conference call on Oct. 24, 2018 with Sui. Singer allegedly told Sui to wire $100,000 to Singer’s bank account for payment to the coach at UCLA, Jorge Salcedo, in exchange for a recruitment letter.

“The translator translated what Singer said into Chinese, telling Sui: ‘Your son is admitted to this school through UCLA’s soccer team. That $100,000 is directly transferred to that soccer coach. So, although your son is a tennis player, because there is a place in soccer team, so it is the soccer team that takes your son.’ Sui responded, “OK,” according to the indictment.

Sui had sent pictures of her son playing tennis to the recruiter, who forwarded the photographs to Singer. Laura Janke, an assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Southern California, sent a faked soccer profile of Sui’s son to Singer, that included a photograph of a different person playing competitive soccer.

Sui wired the sum two days after the conference call to a Key Worldwide Foundation account in Massachusetts. On Nov. 5, 2018 UCLA approved her son for admission and also awarded him a 25% scholarship.

Last Feb. 15, Sui wired $300,000 from Canada to a KWF account in Massachusetts as final payment for her son’s admission to UCLA.

Singer pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud and obstruction of justice and has agreed to cooperate with investigators. previously reported on Sui’s Surrey connection and that British Columbia small claims court records indicate Sui was sued by a Vancouver high-end luxury car subscription service. DK Conquest Luxury Rentals Inc. filed a claim last September for $22,920.11 in repairs and loss of use against Sui and husband Qiran Li. Li allegedly significantly damaged the front end of a 2014 BMW M5. Sui and Li paid a $7,500 damage deposit, but the insurance that Li bought from DK was void “due to reckless use of the vehicle.”

David Sidoo (left) and Justin Trudeau in 2016 (PMO)

Sui and Li are listed on the small claims action at different South Surrey addresses. One property is worth $2.99 million, the other $1.31 million. They do, however, have a common phone number listed on the statement of claim.

Sidoo, a former CFL player who became a wealthy stock market player, tops a list of 19 people named in an April 9, 2019 indictment. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. A trial has yet to be scheduled.

Sidoo is accused of paying more than $200,000 for Harvard-educated tennis coach Mark Riddell to write college entrance exams for sons Dylan and Jordan Sidoo, neither of whom are charged.

If convicted, David Sidoo could face up to 20 years in prison.

Riddell pleaded guilty on April 12 to fraud and money laundering in the scheme hatched by mastermind Singer, who admitted that he “created a side door that would guarantee families would get in.”

Prosecutors allege Riddell traveled from Tampa, Fla. to Vancouver and used false identification to pose as Dylan Sidoo to write an SAT [Scholastic Aptitude Test] test on Dec. 3, 2011 at a venue that has not been disclosed.

Riddell allegedly traveled to Vancouver again, to write a test on June 9, 2012 that is described in the indictment as a “Canadian high school graduation exam.” The venue for the exam remains undisclosed.

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