In a nationwide scam, 50 people were indicted today for their participation in paying William Singer, an admission consultant, around $25 million to bribe coaches and test administrators to get their children into elite colleges such as University of Southern California, Stanford, Yale, Wake Forest, and others. Amongst those parents charged are Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli. Loughlin is known for her role as Aunt Becky in Full House and Fuller House. Giannulli is a fashion designer known for her Mossimo brand of clothing. Actress Felicity Huffman has also been charged. The scam has criminal accusations from 2011 to now.
Parents were allegedly involved in a scandal that allowed cheating on college entrance exams in order for their kids to receive higher scores. These parents also bribed coaches to create an athletic profile for their kids who didn’t even have the athletic abilities required.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, spoke at a press conference to address the case, “Operation Varsity Blues.”
“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud,” Lelling said. “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.”
Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy donated to Key Worldwide Foundation, Singer’s nonprofit organization.
“Huffman and her spouse made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 to KWF to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter,” the criminal complaint affidavit reads. “Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so.”
Singer appeared in court today and pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, tax conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.
“All of these things, and many more things, I did,” Singer said. “I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in.” His sentencing has been scheduled for June 19 and is looking to face 65 years in prison.
“The charges brought forth today are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education,” the NCAA said in a statement. “We are looking into these allegations to determine the extent to which NCAA rules may have been violated.”
Mossimo Giannulli and Felicity Huffman have been arrested. Lori Loughlin is on her way to Los Angeles to surrender to the Central District Court. Nine coaches at the schools, two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, and one college administrator have been arrested.
No students have been charged.