Actresses Huffman, Loughlin among 50 charged in US college fraud scheme
13 March, 2019, 06:28 | Author: Eloise Houston
Prosecutors said parents paid an admissions consultant from 2011 until last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes to boost their children's chances of getting into schools.
The racketeering conspiracy charges unveiled Tuesday were also brought against athletic coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown University and the University of Southern California.
The bribes allegedly came through an admissions consulting company in Newport Beach, California.
Huffman is accused of making a fake charitable donation of $15,000 "to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter", according to prosecutors, who included transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Huffman and a witness in charging documents.
Loughlin and her husband, fashion entrepreneur Mossimo Giannuli, allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters designated as members of the USC rowing team, even though they did not row. Huffman and Loughlin were among those arrested, and were due to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later on Tuesday, prosecutors said.
Huffman is accused of hatching a plan with Singer and her husband, William H. Macy, in the couple's home.
If you were an actress on an ABC sitcom that aired at some point in the 1990s, apparently the easiest way to get back in the news is to bribe college officials to let your undeserving kids get into school. Back in 2016, at the beginning of this process, her parents were advised that her "academic qualifications were at or just below the "low end" of USC's admission standards", according to the criminal complaint.
Huffman (of "Desperate Housewives" fame) and Loughlin (Aunt Becky from "Full House") were among the 33 parents indicted on Tuesday by the Department of Justice in what was dubbed 'Operation Varsity Blues.' It is the largest college cheating scheme ever prosecuted by the DOJ. Once the student was accepted to the school, her family paid $1.2 million. Authorities have not said why he wasn't charged.
Reps for Huffman and Loughlin did not immediately return PEOPLE's calls for comment. Singer then arranged a third-party to proctor the exam and secretly correct the girl's answers.
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