In perhaps the biggest college scam in recent history, fifty people – including CEOs, coaches, test administrators, and celebrities – were charged with participating in a huge admissions scheme, according to CNN. They are being accused of using bribe to have their children admitted to some of the top schools in the country, including USC, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, and others. It is being alleged that some spent between $200,000 and $6.5 million.
According to the federal indictment, announced Tuesday (Mar. 12), the ringleader is William Rick Singer, who had wealthy parents pay his for-profit counseling and preparation business The Key to have guaranteed college acceptance for their children, either by assisting with cheating on the ACT & SAT tests or by using his connections to Division I coaches and using bribes & fake athletic credentials.
Among the 33 parents charged are two notable actresses:
- Felicity Huffman, best known for her role on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, is accused of paying $15,000 to Singer to help her daughter cheat on the SATs. Her daughter received a 1420 score, a 400 point increase from her PSAT score from the previous year.
- Lori Loughlin, a.k.a. “Aunt Becky” on Full House, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are being accused of paying up to $500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters designated as USC crew team recruits, despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.
Both actresses were caught in recorded phone conversations, discussing the bribes. They were both charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. They had to forfeit their passports and agreed to bonds. Huffman, who was brought into custody Tuesday, had her bond set at $250,000, while Loughlin had her bond set at a similar amount as her husband (around $1 million). However, she was granted permission to travel to Vancouver and back for work.