Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Indicted in Shocking College Admissions Bribery Scheme
Per the outlet, Huffman and Loughlin were each arrested on one count of felony mail fraud. The Fuller House star's husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also charged in the scheme. According to Variety, Loughlin and Giannulli have been accused of paying $500,000 to have both their daughters accepted into the University of Southern California (USC) as members of the crew team, though neither participated in the sport.
Meanwhile Huffman, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by Variety, was heard discussing a rigged SAT test for her daughter in recorded phone calls. The affidavit stated that Huffman "and her spouse," actor William H. Macy, talked about and made arrangements for the flubbed test on multiple phone calls. Macy was neither charged, nor named in the affidavit, however. Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to a charity run by William "Rick" Singer, a man who ran Edge College & Career Network LLC — also known as "The Key," a for-profit college admissions consulting firm. According to Variety, the charity is a front for bribe payments to get wealthy kids into good schools.
Singer is accused of having worked to build fake athletic profiles for students, and then working with colleges to help the students gain admissions to their schools. In some cases, the coaches would pocket bribe payments for themselves, while others gave the money to the athletic programs at their school. Singer is also said to have employed a man called Mark Riddell, a private school counselor in Florida, who reportedly took entrance exams for students, or corrected their answers after tests were completed. Parents paid between $15,000 and $75,000 for this service. Riddell was, according to Variety, paid $10,000 per test, prosecutors said. Singer is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday.
Prosecutors have charged 33 parents with paying large sums of money, between $200,000 and $6.5 million according to the outlet, to get their kids into elite colleges across the United States. Variety reported that nine college coaches were also charged and accused with accepting bribes in exchange for granting admission. The scheme reportedly involved faking SAT and ACT scores, the outlet stated.
"Their actions were without a doubt insidious, selfish and shameful," Joseph R. Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Boston. "Today's arrests should be a warning to others. You can't pay to play. You can't lie and cheat to get ahead."
Parents charged in the case are employed as CEOs, real estate investors, and even the co-chair of a global law firm, per Variety. The students were granted admission into colleges like Yale University, Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA and USC. Andrew Lelling, the United States Attorney in Boston, said in a statement to the outlet that the parents indicted "are a catalog of wealth and privilege."
"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admission through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud," Lelling said.
John Vandemoer, head sailing coach at Stanford; Rudy Meredith, former head women's soccer coach at Yale; and Jovan Vavic, former water polo coach at USC; Michael Center, head coach of men's tennis at University of Texas at Austin have also been charged with various things in the case.