Almost 50 people were slapped with federal charges for participating in a cheating and bribery ring to get their children admitted to elite universities.
Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and Fuller House’s Lori Loughlin were among the 33 parents who paid between $200K and $6 million to boost their children’s chances of getting into select colleges, according to The Associated Press. The targeted schools included Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles.
“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. “This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admission through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud.”
Lelling says this is the biggest college admissions scam the Justice Department has ever prosecuted. In addition to the parents, nine athletic coaches were arrested and charged.
A total of 49 people were arrested, reports NBC News.
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The scheme was spearheaded by college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer who was paid to bribe coaches and college administrators. Students were labelled athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, to gain admission.
“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” Lelling said.
Rigging tests was another part of the scam.
Singer was paid between $15,000 and $75,000 per test to ensure high scores. He even encouraged parents to request "extended time on the exams, including by having their children purport to have learning disabilities in order to obtain medical documentation that ACT."
Singer also bribed test proctors Igor Dvorsiky and Lisa "Niki" Williams to allow Mark Riddell to take tests in the students’ place. Riddell received $10K per test. The scam, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI, started in 2011 and ended last month. Singer allegedly received $25 million in income. The Justice Department charged him with racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of justice. The parents were charged with mail fraud while others received racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud charges.
Twitter couldn't handle the Caucasity of it all.
You mean to tell me your parents have had access to great schools, teachers and tutors and you still need to cheat your way into a good college? Bon Dieu!— Valerie Thee Hobbit (@ThatBKGurl) March 12, 2019
Can we talk about the fact that there are Black mothers getting arrested for enrolling their kids in public elementary schools in the same universe where white folx are buying their mediocre children entrance into whole elite universities?— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) March 12, 2019
Please. Can we?
I keep thinking of that black girl who they said she had to have cheated cause her scores were too high on her second try smh https://t.co/VXWjeRfnR4— Joanna Dia Branda (@CarmillaLusta) March 12, 2019
Just a reminder that rich people are able to use their money and power to open elite doors for their mediocre children that, in turn, make it far more likely that they will succeed in life. Poor people and POC are expected to be exceptional. This is not a meritocracy.— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) March 12, 2019
Also: you’re rich enough to afford additional aids like tutors, classes, etc. And you still have to pay someone to take the test for you because you still can’t do well. Embarrassing.— Joi @ SXSW (@jumpedforjoi) March 12, 2019
I want the people who were up in arms about affirmative action in college admittance to keep that same energy for rich people who pay to get their kids into Ivy League schools.— Jenét Where are the girls and babies? Morrow (@JenetAllDay) March 12, 2019
These are the people who are ACTUALLY stealing your kid's spot. https://t.co/L6qYvpNKcT
Shoutout to those Asian-American students who are against affirmative action pic.twitter.com/Di0Iv0OsVy— Valerie Thee Hobbit (@ThatBKGurl) March 12, 2019
This admissions scandal is why students, especially Black and Latinx, who earn their place at Ivies with tears and sacrifice, should ignore people who say they are there because of "affirmative action". The truth is, many of the students and parents saying this are the culprits.— ProfB (@AntheaButler) March 12, 2019
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