Yesterday’s arrests were part of the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by federal authorities, according to multiple reports. Parents paid up to $6.5 million to guarantee admissions for their children, said FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta.
— CNN (@CNN) March 12, 2019
In federal court documents, prosecutors outlined how the scheme worked: Parents paid a college prep organization to take on behalf of their children or to correct their answers. The organization also bribed college coaches “to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their abilities.” Some of the defendants even created fake athletic profiles for their children to bolster the ruse.
“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud,” said Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. “There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add that there will not be a separate criminal justice system either. For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.”
Felicity Huffman, the Academy Award-nominated star of Transamerica and Emmy-winner for Desperate Housewives, has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and has a court date on March 29 in Boston. She also surrendered her passport after a judge set bond for her at $250,000. Prosecutors said Huffman paid $15,000 to William Rick Singer’s fake charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to “facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs.” She also discussed the scheme in a recorded phone call with a cooperating witness.
Lori Loughlin, who earned fame playing Rebecca “Aunt Becky” Katsopolis on the hit series Full House, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are facing the same charges. The couple bribed officials $500,000 in exchange for having their daughters recruited to the University of Southern California’s crew team, even though neither daughter participated in crew.
Although Huffman and Loughlin are two of the more famous names listed in the federal indictment, the list includes 48 other people, including:
- William Singer, the owner of the Edge College & Career Network, and chief executive of the Key Worldwide Foundation
- Gordon Caplan, a lawyer and a co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher
- Douglas Hodge, former chief executive of bond fund manager Pimco
- William E. McGlashan Jr., a senior executive at private equity firm TPG
- Donna Heinel, senior associate athletic director at U.S.C.
- Laura Janke, the former assistant coach of women’s soccer at U.S.C.
- Ali Khosroshahin, the former head coach of women’s soccer at U.S.C.
- Igor Dvorskiy, test administrator for the College Board and A.C.T.
A full list of those facing charges in the scandal can be found HERE.