Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Actresses Huffman and Loughlin charged in college bribery case

Actresses Huffman and Loughlin charged in college bribery case

William "Rick" Singer, 58, pleaded guilty to a variety of charges for organizing the scheme, which investigators dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues".

The FBI has uncovered a nationwide college admissions scam with agents arresting 50 people, including famous actresses and CEOs. They included actors Felicity Huffman, known for her role in the television show Desperate Housewives, and Lori Loughlin, who appeared in another long-running show called Full House.

The lawyers said Singer offered people up to $75,000 to take college entrance exams for students.They also accused him of paying college coaches to accept students as sports players even if they had never played the sport.

The alleged $25 million scheme involved helping students cheat on entrance exams, as well as getting non-athletic students admitted on fake athletic scholarships to elite schools like Yale and Stanford.

Defendants with high school-aged children who were applying to college allegedly "conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission to colleges and universities" in MA and elsewhere including Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California and UCLA.

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The Associated Press reports racketeering conspiracy charges were brought against coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown and the University of Southern California.

Authorities said coaches in such sports as soccer, sailing, tennis, water polo and volleyball accepted bribes to put students on lists of recruited athletes, regardless of their ability or experience.

Mossimo Giannulli, Loughlin's husband of 20 years and the founder of American clothing company Mossimo, is also named in the indictment and was arrested Tuesday morning.

Singer helped pay individuals money to take the exams or help improve their scores after. According to the documents, her daughter never rowed, and Loughlin told a cooperating witness during a phone call, recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that she was going to arrange to have her daughter photographed on a rowing machine. Sophia allegedly took the test with a proctor who administered the exam and then corrected her wrong answers. "Thereafter, the Giannullis use bribes to facilitate her admission to USC as a recruited crew coxswain, even though she did not row competitively or otherwise participate in crew", prosecutors wrote in the indictment. A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS just to get them into USC? "We're right now in the thick of college application time, which is so stressful", the "Shameless" star said in January.

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