Uh oh. Say it isn’t so: Celebs really are like us — at least when it comes to wanting to do all they can to get their kids into good colleges. But Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and numerous others went a little too far. Okay, maybe a lot too far.
This is big, people. We are talking celebs and CEOs, for crissakes. Several well-known actors and a bunch of high-powered Hollywood execs are among 50 people currently charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating and fraud scam. This comes from court records unsealed on Tuesday in Boston in a federal court; the records included 200 pages of charging documents.
Huffman is already allegedly in custody, according to Page Six and TMZ.
The high-profile people indicted allegedly offered — and paid — bribes of up to $6 million to get their kids accepted into a slew of elite colleges. Yale, Georgetown and Stanford are some of the institutions involved, according to federal prosecutors.
ABC News reported that the indictment papers read:
“Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants — principally individuals whose high-school age children were applying to college — conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California Los Angeles.”
The students — in most of the cases — were unaware that their admission to their colleges-of-choice were contingent on bribe money. Ugh.
Desperate Housewives’ Huffman must have been really, um, desperate. According to these charging papers, she made a “purported charitable contribution of $15,000… to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter.” Felicity, noooooooo.
We are dying to know if William H. Macy of Shameless (ahem), Huffman’s husband, knew about this scheme. Macy had referred to the college admissions process as “stressful” in an interview with Parade only two months before Huffman was charged in this fraud.
“Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so,” according to the federal court documents. Federal agents secretly taped phone calls between Huffman and a cooperating witness, the documents also tell us.
Lori Loughlin — known perhaps best for her role as sweet Aunt Becky on Full House — and husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli “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.”
Federal agents were able to get their hands on emails from Loughlin that indicated her involvement in the fraud, according to the court documents.
We’re wondering if it was before — or after — the Loughlin-Giannulli daughters were handed crew team shirts and oars (surprise, girls!) that they figured out their parents had been up to no good. Yikes.
Twitter is ablaze with disgusted and shocked fans.
Allegedly there were three cooperating witnesses who helped the feds build their case against this unexpected Hollywood crime ring. One witness is a founder of the nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation. Another served as college exam prep director at an academy in Bradenton, Florida, the court documents alleged.
Expect to hear more (possibly a lot more) on this breaking news story.
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