Photo: Tim Lundin
Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among at least 40 people who have been indicted by the FBI and US attorney’s office in Boston over a college admissions scheme, according to court documents.
The dozens of people indicted are accused of paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into elite universities, NBC reported. The average price per student was $250,000, authorities said in a press conference on Tuesday.
The alleged college admissions scheme was two-pronged. In some instances, parents are accused of having their children recruited as Division 1 athletes, regardless of athletic abilities. In other instances, parents are accused of having a stand-in take SAT and ACT exams for their children, or replace their answers with the stand-ins.
In most cases, the children did not know that their parents were allegedly involved in bribes, according to ABC News.
Schools named in unsealed court documents include Georgetown, Stanford, University of California, Los Angeles, Yale, University of Texas, University of Southern California and Wake Forest, according to NBC.
William Rick Singer is at the center of the alleged scheme
At the center of the alleged scheme is William Rick Singer, the owner of Edge College & Career Network, who helped students get into the colleges of their choice, authorities said in the press conference.
According to the US Attorney General’s office, 33 parents have been charged in the scheme, and parents spent anywhere from $200k to $6.5 million to guarantee admissions to colleges. Prosecutors said that parents paid Singer a total of $25 million over eight years to boost their children’s chances of getting into schools.
Officials allege that parents would pay Singer to fabricate athletic profiles for their children, and have other people either take SAT and ACT exams in place of the students or correct answers once they were submitted.
In some instances, coaches would allegedly arrange fake athletic profiles for students, and would photoshop students faces on to athletes bodies to submit to schools, according to court documents.
The crimes defendants are accused of committing are said to have happened between 2011 and 2019.
The criminal complaint alleges that Loughlin and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
Court documents allege that Loughlin’s younger daughter, Olivia, could not figure out how to fill out her college application after being recruited as a rower, so the family had Singer’s company fill it out for her.
Huffman and her husband are accused of making a charitable contribution of $15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter. Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so,” court documents seen by ABC said.
Huffman’s husband, William H. Macy, was not indicted.
Coaches and college exam administrators have also been indicted
Also among those indicted is former Yale University women’s soccer coach Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, who is charged with two counts of wire fraud.
Two college exam administrators — Igor Dvorsiky, of Los Angeles, and Lisa “Niki” Williams, of Houston — were also indicted.
They are accused of allowing people to take exams for students or replacing students’ answers with their own, according to the court documents.
Officials said Singer will plead guilty to fraud charges in Boston’s federal courthouse on Tuesday.
In total, 33 parents were indicted, including former Pimco CEO Doug Hodge, media executive Elisabeth Kimmel, real estate investor Bruce Isackson, winemaker Agustin Huneeus, and former casino executive Gamal Abdelaziz.
In a press conference on Tuesday morning US Attorney Andrew Lelling said “For every student admitted through this fraud, a legitimate, talented student was not accepted.”
This article first appeared on Business Insider.