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HomeBusinessDeveloping: Surrey woman arrested in Spain, accused of $400K bribe to get her son into UCLA

Developing: Surrey woman arrested in Spain, accused of $400K bribe to get her son into UCLA


Bob Mackin (Updated Sept. 18)

A Surrey, B.C. woman has been arrested in Spain on fraud charges related to the ongoing U.S. college admissions scandal.

Xiaoning Sui, 48, is accused of 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.


Sui is the 52nd person charged, but not the first from B.C. David Sidoo pleaded not guilty to paying $200,000 for an imposter to write his sons’ college admissions tests. U.S. authorities referred to Sui as a Chinese woman and said that she was arrested Sept. 16 in Spain and that they will begin extradition proceedings in Spain to bring Sui to Massachusetts to face the charges. The U.S. Department of Justice did not disclose where in Spain she was arrested and where she is being held.

“Global Affairs is aware of a detention of a Canadian citizen in Spain. Consular officials are in contact,” said Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock by email to

Sui could face 20 years in jail, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine if convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. 

An unsealed March 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 of last year 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.

Jorge Salcedo (UCLA)

In September of last year, the indictment says, Sui 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, UCLA approved her son for admission and also awarded him a 25% scholarship.

On Feb. 15 of this year, 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. Janke pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge and will be sentenced in January. Salcedo has an Oct. 1 case conference as he contests the racketeering charge. 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.”

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.

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

Sidoo, a former CFL player who became a wealthy stock market player, tops a list of 19 people named in an April 9 indictment. Sidoo pleaded not guilty on April 29 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

He 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. His next court date is Oct. 2.

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.”

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