TV Stars and NCAA Coaches Charged in College Entrance Scheme

  • Source: The Lead
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Hollywood TV actresses, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are two out of 49 different people, charged with conspiring a college entrance cheating scheme. The scheme involved extremely wealthy individuals paying for their children to attend a chosen top shelf university.
The scam allegedly focused on providing inadequate student’s admission to elite college universities, under the false pretense that they were “recruited athletes.” According to Boston law documents and other reports, these students were labeled and placed in the category of university athlete, regardless of their actual ability playing the sport represented on official papers.

Fox News reports, some wealthy parents involved with the scheme, payed up to $6.5 million to place their child in the preferred university. The alleged scam involved top quality schools such as: Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas.
The illegal operation was run by a California man, William Rick Singer, providing his services through multiple bribe tactics. Singer is slotted to soon plead guilty to federal racketeering charges. His charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, was set up as a front. Funneling a total of $25 million, helping him guarantee parents successful admission for their children.
"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth, combined with fraud,"
"There can be no separate college admission for wealthy, and I will add there will not be a separate criminal justice system either," said U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling.

The FBI recorded multiple phone calls involving Hollywood stars, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. In total, 49 individuals were charged in relation to the scam. Thus far, 33 charged are wealthy parents, nine are NCAA college coaches…
One of the college coaches involved in the scam Rudy Meredith, was former head women's soccer coach at Yale, and John Vandemoer, was a sailing coach at Stanford University. A Georgetown tennis coach also was tied to the case during 2012, and again in 2018. The coach accepted a bribe from Singer that amounted to more than $2.7 million, according to the documents. The remaining NCAA coaches have yet to be named.
"We believe everyone charged here today had a role in fostering a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way through hard work, good grades and community service," said John Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in charge.

Prosecutors specifically believe Singer’s for-profit college preparation business, provided parents the opportunity to pay between $15,000 and $75,000 per SAT or ACT exam, having someone else take the exam for their child, according to the court papers. Singer would then use cash to bribe administrators at the college exam sites, sneaking in fraud test takers.
Reportedly from 2011-2019, wealthy parents paid in total $25 million to bribe University officials, administrators and college coaches. All under the notion these students were “recruited athletes.” During some cases, Singer and his team even created fake high school athletic profiles, hoping it would boost beliefs about actually being an athlete.
Lori Loughlin is best known for her role in the hit sitcom series, “Full House,” while Felicity Huffman is widely recognized for starring on the hit ABC show, “Desperate Housewives.” Both Hollywood actors were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, along with honest services fraud.