- The Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 50 people charged with participating in a college-admissions scandal uncovered by the FBI, according to court documents unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.
- Authorities said the scam involved bribes to get children accepted into Division I universities as athletes, regardless of their athletic ability.
- Several parents were also accused of paying to have their children’s ACT and SAT tests taken for them or corrected.
- The schools mentioned in the court documents include Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest, according to NBC’s Boston affiliate.
The Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 50 people charged in connection with a college-admissions scheme uncovered by the FBI, according to court documents unsealed in Boston on Tuesday.
Thirty-three parents are accused of paying William Rick Singer, the owner of the Edge College & Career Network, a total of $US25 million from 2011 to 2019 to boost their children’s chances of getting into elite universities. The US Attorney’s Office in Boston said the parents each paid $US200,000 to $US6.5 million to guarantee the admissions.
Prosecutors said that in most cases the children did not know their parents were involved in the bribes, an ABC News affiliate reported. Schools named in the court documents include Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest, according to NBC’s Boston affiliate.
Authorities say Singer is at the center of the scheme
Authorities said the scheme was two-pronged: Some instances involved bribes to have students recruited as Division I athletes, regardless of their athletic ability, while in other cases parents paid to have their children’s SAT and ACT exams taken for them or their answers corrected.
Officials said Singer and his associates would sometimes fabricate athletic profiles for the students, in some cases using photo-editing software to put a student’s face on an athlete’s body.
A criminal complaint alleges that Loughlin and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totaling $US500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that they did not participate in crew – thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
The complaint included an email from Loughlin to Singer that said her younger daughter, Olivia, was confused about how to fill out her college application after being recruited as a rower. The document said Singer’s company submitted it for her.
Huffman is accused of making a “charitable contribution” of $US15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter.” The complaint said Huffman “later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so.” Huffman’s husband, William H. Macy, was not indicted.
Coaches and college-exam administrators were also charged
The US Attorney’s Office said 13 coaches and associates of Singer’s were charged in connection with the scheme.
Among those indicted were Rudy Meredith, the former Yale women’s soccer coach, who was charged with two counts of wire fraud; Doug Hodge, the former Pimco CEO; Elisabeth Kimmel, a media executive; Bruce Isackson, a real-estate investor; Agustin Huneeus, a winemaker; and Gamal Abdelaziz, a former casino executive.
Two college-exam administrators, Igor Dvorskiy and Lisa “Niki” Williams, were charged with taking bribes from Singer to allow a man – also hired by Singer – to take the college exams on a student’s behalf or correct the answers, NBC News said.
Officials said Singer would plead guilty to charges in Boston on Tuesday.
“For every student admitted through this fraud, a legitimate, talented student was not accepted,” US Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a press conference.
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