- Investigators say parents edited their kids’ heads onto stock photos of athletes to improve their chances of getting into elite colleges.
- At least 40 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were indicted by the FBI and the US attorney’s office in Boston.
- Investigators have accused some parents of having their children recruited as Division 1 athletes regardless of their athletic abilities.
- In some cases, according to the affidavit, they “simply found photos of athletes on the Internet and either used those photos or used software such as PhotoShop to insert the applicants’ faces onto the bodies of legitimate athletes.”
Investigators say that some parents involved in the alleged college schemed to get their children admitted into elite colleges went to great lengths – including having their children quite literally pose as elite athletes. According to the affidavit, in some cases, parents edited their kids’ heads onto photos of actual elite outfits they found on the internet.
At least 40 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, were indicted by the FBI and the US attorney’s office in Boston as a part of the alleged scheme.
As described in the affidavit, falsified athletic “profiles” detailing fake elite athletic accomplishments would be created for the students.
Parents allegedly used a variety methods to fake profiles
In some cases, the affidavit said, the parents would supply staged photos of their children participating in athletic activities to accompany the profiles.
In others, they would edit photos with software. On more than one occasion, those involved “simply found photos of athletes on the Internet and either used those photos or used software such as PhotoShop to insert the applicants’ faces onto the bodies of legitimate athletes,” per the affidavit.
Lori Loughlin and her husband have been accused of partaking in the former method, per the affidavit.
According to court documents, in July 2016, to help their older daughter, Isabella, get into USC, they allegedly staged a photo of her on an ergometer and claimed that she was a skilled coxswain. However, their daughter “did not row competitively or otherwise participate in crew.”
The strategy worked, so they used it again several months later with their younger daughter, Instagram influencer Olivia Jade. They falsely claimed that Olivia was a coxswain for the L.A. Marina Club team and sent another so-called “action picture” of their daughter on an ergometer, the affidavit stated.
It’s both cases they claimed that their daughters were coxswains and they had them pose on rowing machines. However, in crew races, coxswains do not row.
After the photos were sent in along with the applications, a guidance counselor at the girls’ high school questioned whether or not they actually rowed crew. But, ultimately, per the documents, both girls were admitted.
There was more to the alleged scheme than falsifying athletic records and accomplishments
Allegations against the parents named in the case vary. Some parents have been accused of having a stand-in take the SAT and ACT exams for their children, or having a stand in replace test answers. In some cases, parents have been accused of paying monetary bribes ranging from $US200,000 to $US6 million to William Rick Singer, a college admissions expert, in order to guarantee their kids’ admission into elite colleges, according to the US Attorney General’s office.
Schools named in the scandal include Wake Forest University, Yale University, University of Southern California, and University California, Los Angeles, among others.
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