The heiress whose family created Hot Pockets, the popular microwaveable snack, received a five-month prison sentence on Tuesday. The sentence stems from her role in the college admissions scandal that swept the nation last spring.
Michelle Janavs, the heiress to the Hot Pockets fortune, plead guilty in October to paying a “fixer” $300,000 to get her two daughters into the University of Southern California.
The fixer, Rick Singer, had a proctor correct the ACT exam answers for her daughter, which cost Janavs $100,000. She paid $200,000 to Singer to have her daughter’s records falsified records to pass her off as a star beach volleyball recruit.
When news of Janavs’ arrest broke, USC rescinded her daughter’s conditional acceptance before she was officially admitted to the university.
Prosecutors in Janavs’ case set their sights on a 21-month sentence. Her attorneys tried to make the argument that the heiress should simply be put on probation.
Other High-Profile Participants
The Hot Pockets heiress is not the only high profile name facing jail time in connection with this scandal. Actress Felicity Huffman served eleven days out of a fourteen-day sentence last October.
Huffman paid $15,000 to improve her daughter’s SAT scores to help her get into USC. Her remarkably short sentence sparked conversations around the country about privilege and the criminal justice system.
Lori Loughlin, who we all remember as Aunt Becky on Full House, chose to plead not guilty to fraud and bribery charges and will face trial later this year.
Loughlin, along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannuli, allegedly paid as much as $500,000 to a fake charity to secure their daughter’s admission under the facade that the girls would join the rowing team. Neither girl was a rower. Both of the Giannuli daughters have since left USC.
Because Loughlin plead not guilty, and because her charges are more serious than the other women’s, she could potentially be facing a more serious sentence than either Janavs or Huffman. If she is convicted, of course.
More than 50 people have faced charges for their various roles in the college admissions scandal. All wealthy, some famous, others not.
The famous names involved in the scandal, and the extreme wealth and privilege of the participants, made it a national talking point for months. It opened up a discussion about wealth in America, injustice in the criminal justice system, and the problem with college admissions today.
Janavs’s sentence may be the first step to justice for those deprived of admission because of the fraud. Justice in this case, and in others involving the uber-wealthy like Harvey Weinstein’s, may begin to soothe the concerns of those who feel that the wealthy can do anything in America.