Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin among dozens charged in $25m United States college scam

Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin among dozens charged in $25m United States college scam

Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin among dozens charged in $25m United States college scam

Some 300 law enforcement agents swept across the country to make arrests in what agents code-named "Operation Varsity Blues".

The largest college admissions fraud scam unearthed in USA history was run out of a small college preparation company in Newport Beach, California, that relied on bribes to sports coaches, phoney test takers and even doctored photos depicting non-athletic applicants as elite competitors to land college slots for the offspring of rich parents, prosecutors said. Meredith, who accepted a $400,000 bribe from Singer, is due to plead guilty, prosecutors said.

In response to the investigation, USC has released a statement, noting that the school has not be accused of any wrongdoing.

None of the students were charged and most remain at the universities, he said.

According to the criminal complaint, the cheating was facilitated "in some cases by posing as the actual students, and in others by providing students with answers during the exams or by correcting their answers after they had completed the exams".

The alleged scheme focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment unsealed in Boston.

ABC News reported that most of the students did not know their admission stemmed from bribe money.

The coaches indicted include Texas men's tennis coach Michael Center, a sailing coach at Stanford, a women's soccer coach at Yale, a tennis coach at Georgetown, several USC coaches, and a men's soccer coach at UCLA.

One of the cooperating witnesses, Rudy Meredith, was the head coach of the women's soccer team at Yale. The parents of that student had allegedly paid Singer $1.2 million.

Prosecutors said the scheme was masterminded by William Rick Singer, the founder of a for-profit college preparation business based in Newport Beach, California. Singer was paid $100,000 to $6.5 million by parents to engage in the scam, prosecutors said.

Loughlin appeared in the sitcom Full House, and Huffman starred in Desperate Housewives.

Lelling added that none of the universities were charged in the scheme, and were not seen as co-conspirators.

According to the charging papers, Huffman "made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000.to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter".

Huffman has two daughters with husband William H. Macy including Sofia, who is 18, and 16-year old Georgia.

"In subsequent e-mails, (they) agreed to tell the high school counselor that Huffman's daughter would take the SAT at a different location (during a weekend) so that she would not miss any school", prosecutors wrote.

"The way the world works these days is unbelievable", McGlashan said to Singer, according to court papers.

A spokeswoman for Loughlin had no comment.

Huffman, 56, and Loughlin, the 54-year-old star of "Full House", were among 33 parents accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in joining the scheme.

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