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, 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.
The coaches worked at such schools as Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles.
According to the charges, the bribes ranged from several thousand dollars to $6.5 million, resulting in roughly $25 million being paid to Singer between roughly 2011 and 2018.
The scheme involved coaches in soccer, tennis, volleyball and crew taking bribes to put students on lists of recruited athletes, despite any experience, so the students faced a lower standard of admission.
Huffman, the complaint said, made a $15,000 charitable donation "to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter". Dozens, including Huffman, the Emmy-winning star, were reportedly arrested by midday.
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The daughters of "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin became targets of scorn on social media on Tuesday after their mother was charged in an alleged scheme to help privileged Americans get their children into elite universities by fraudulent means.
Felicity Huffman, 56, was caught by paparazzi on March 12 - just hours after she was arrested by seven FBI agents armed with guns for her alleged involvement in a nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious colleges - when she prepared to exit the federal courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles. Huffman's husband, actor William H. Macy, was not.
The man whom authorities allege is at the center of the scheme, William Rick Singer, appeared in a Boston federal courthouse Tuesday.
"Wealthy parents paid Singer about 25 million dollars in total", said Andrew Lelling, the USA attorney in Boston, Massachusetts where the case was filed.
A third cooperating witness who began working with prosecutors in February 2019 was identified as Mark Riddell, the director of college entrance exam preparation at a private college preparatory school and sports academy in Bradenton, Florida. Authorities have not said why Macy wasn't charged. The cooperator told investigators that Huffman and her spouse "agreed to the plan". "Why is everything so weird now", another person said. Messages seeking comment from Huffman's representatives were not immediately returned.