Federal authorities charged dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in a sweeping admissions bribery case Tuesday. The charges were unsealed Tuesday against coaches and others, and involved several elite schools, including Wake Forest University, Stanford, Yale, Georgetown and University of Southern California.
Huffman and Loughlin (and the 50+ others) are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The alleged fraud was organized by a California businessman who promised to help kids get into the school of their choice, by enlisting SAT/ACT administrators and college coaches. According to TMZ, court records show the stars—and others—shelled out as much as $6 million to get their kids into these schools.
“Dozens of individuals involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston,” a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts says.
Huffman was reportedly arrested Tuesday and will be released on bond. Huffman and her husband William H. Macy reportedly made a charitable contribution of $15K to participate in a college entrance cheating scheme. Macy was not arrested. (Their daughter reportedly received a 1420 on her SAT, an uptick of 400 points from her PSAT). Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli (the founder of the Mossimo clothing brand) allegedly shelled out $500K to have their two girls designated as recruits of USC. One of their daughters,Olivia Jade, is a prominent social media influencer. Both Olivia and her older sister Isabella Rose are still currently students at USC. Their fates, and those of the other students in the scandal, are unknown.
Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on Full House, took a flight to L.A. Tuesday and surrendered at the Central District Court. At least 13 defendants, including Huffman and Giannulli, appeared in federal court in L.A. late in the day Tuesday.
- William Rick Singer, the man allegedly ran the scheme, has pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering, tax conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He faces up to 65 years in prison.
- Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, Northeastern and UCLA released statements condemning the schemes. Said Georgetown: “Georgetown University is deeply disappointed to learn that former Tennis Coach,Gordon Ernst, is alleged to have committed criminal acts against the University that constitute an unprecedented breach of trust. Mr. Ernst has not coached our tennis team since Dec. 2017, following an internal investigation that found he had violated University rules concerning admissions. Georgetown cooperated fully with the government’s investigation. We are reviewing the details of the indictment and will take appropriate action.”