Who is Martin Fox, the Houstonian accused in college bribery scandal?
HOUSTON – A college admissions scandal has made international headlines and has direct ties to Houston.
Dozens of suspects -- including coached, parents and at least two Hollywood stars -- are accused of using lies and bribes to get students into elite universities.
Channel 2 Investigates has been digging deeper into Niki Williams and Martin Fox and the roles they're accused of playing.
Fox had connections to key collegiate coaches. He is accused of giving and accepting bribes to get students into elite universities.
The case has parents questioning fairness in the college admission process.
Fox is a fast mover with fast company. At least that's how one former athletic shoe company executive described him to Channel 2 Investigates.
He lived a jet-setting lifestyle away from the court, but beside it?
"He was the guy you needed to talk to, to get to Adidas if you had players at that level. He was mostly at the major tournaments," a local AAU basketball insider said.
Fox was arrested at his Houston home Tuesday morning by FBI Houston agents.
Unsealed court documents indicate William Rick Singer is the self-acknowledged mastermind of the con. Singer collected as much as $25 million from as many as 800 families, according to authorities.
Investigators said Singer's list includes corporate CEOs, money managers, lawyers and actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Federal agents said more arrests are possible as "Operation Varsity Blues" continues.
How was Fox such a key figure in the scandal that has rocked the rich and famous, as well as elite universities?
According to the federal complaint, Fox, 62, knew Williams, an ACT test administrator, as well as key collegiate coaches.
Authorities said he bribed the University of Texas tennis coach Michael Center with nearly $100,000 to secure a tennis scholarship for a student.
His Houston criminal defense attorney, Dan Cogdell, said he doesn't know much about Fox.
"I know my friend Ken Schafer is representing Martin Fox and that is all I know," Cogdell said.
Cogdell said the case is unprecedented for him because the alleged mastermind, William Singer, of California, already pleaded guilty to work with federal investigators.
"What's interesting about this case, is they cut a deal with the guy at the top. They cut a deal with Singer, which is like cutting a deal with John Gotti. It usually doesn't go that way. They usually work their way up," Cogdell said.
Channel 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said it doesn't bode well for Fox and Williams in the case.
"The fact that Singer, who is the boss of all bosses in this case, has already taken a deal can only mean bad news for the underlings in this case, including Ms. Williams and Mr. Fox," Wice said.
Schaffer said he and Fox are prepared to fight the accusations.
“We are very surprised at these accusations and we are prepared to fight them,” Schaffer said. “Martin Fox should have never been charged with racketeering. He is a very successful tennis coach who has helped multiple kids over the last decade or so. My client does know who he is but as far any allegations I don’t know what he (Singer) is saying.”
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