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Hot Pocket Heiress Cites COVID-19 Concerns in Requesting Prison Release

The current pandemic is impacting all aspects of our daily life and all parts of our society. Some of those who have been sentenced to serve prison time as a result of the college admissions scandal are now requesting to serve their sentence at home due to the health risks associated with the global pandemic. Michele Janavs, an heir to the Hot Pockets (frozen sandwich) fortune, was previously sentenced to five months in prison. Her attorney has indicated that she has an underlying condition that would make her very vulnerable to COVID-19 while serving her prison sentence. He stated, "If Ms. Janavs were to surrender to custody, she is highly likely to become infected with COVID-19. And because of her underlying condition, she faces a much higher risk than others of serious complications, hospitalization, or death from the virus."

Ms. Janavs admitted to paying $100,000 to college admissions scandal kingpin, Rick Singer, to have someone fraudulently correct her two daughters' ACT exams, and agreeing to pay $200,000 to have one daughter recruited as a beach volleyball player to aid her admission to the University of Southern California. In the sentencing hearing, Judge Nathaniel Gorton found Ms. Janavs’ claim that she cheated because she loved her children to be bogus. In addition, the Judge equated her behavior with bribing a public official and indicated that prison was a requirement in her sentence to deter others from engaging in similar misconduct. She is additionally ordered to two years of supervised release and after her 5-month jail sentence, she is required to conduct 200 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine.

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 at the minimum-security prison to which Ms. Janavs has been assigned. However, Judge Gorton has freed another parent who was sentenced to prison time in the college admissions scandal to prevent him from contracting the virus.

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