AceShowbiz - Hot Pockets heiress Michelle Janavs is headed to jail for her involvement in the nationwide college admissions scandal. The former food company executive was sentenced to five months in prison on Tuesday, February 25 for paying bribes to get her two daughters into prestigious universities.
Michelle, whose family invented Hot Pockets, admitted to paying $100,000 to have someone cheat on two of her daughters' ACT exams and agreeing to pay $200,000 to get the older daughter admitted to University of Southern California as a "fake beach volleyball recruit."
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton criticized Michelle's claim that she cheated for the love of her children. "It is certainly true that the vast majority of parents truly love their children and want their children to get into their college of choice," he said. "But other parents don't try to brazenly get their children into a side-door by bribing college officials. They love their children as much as you do."
The sentence is much lower than Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Kearney originally asked, which was 21 months behind bars. She argued that Michelle showed a "flagrant disrespect for right and wrong and an attitude that she is untouchable." Kristen added, "She believed she and her children were deserving of an illicit edge over other students and no one could stop her."
Michelle was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and to serve two years of supervised release after prison, said Liz McCarthy, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
Michelle, who is of Newport Coast, California, then apologized for "inexplicable behavior." She said after the sentencing, "I'm so very sorry I tried to make an unfair advantage for my children. There are truly no words to express the heartache and shame by my actions. I have been shaken to the core."
One of her attorneys, John Littrell, said Michelle understands "the harm that her choices caused" and the "impact that those choices had on students who tried to apply fairly to get into college." He added, "But this crime does not define who she is. Michelle is going to be defined by what she's done the rest of her life."
Michelle is the 16th person to be sentenced in the case. Actress Felicity Huffman got two weeks in prison in exchange for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct SAT questions answered incorrectly by her daughter.
Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who allegedly paid $500,000 to get their two daughters into USC, have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of bribery, money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Their trial is scheduled to start in October.