At least 44 people including two actresses and coaches are charged in one of the biggest college entrance cheating scandals in U.S. history.
According to court documents, parents paid a California man to bribe colleges by portraying their children as athletes to gain admittance into high profile and Ivy League schools. The feds say at least $25 million was paid by parents of substandard students between 2011 and 2019.
The U.S. Attorney's Office arrested actresses Lori Loughlin, left, and Felicity Huffman, along with other well-to-do parents, in a bribery scandal involving elite schools.
Also charged on Tuesday were 9 coaches at elite schools, 1 college administrator and 33 parents who paid "huge sums"
The scheme involves cheating on college entrance exams. The man paid the cash directly to college administrators and coaches.
According to ABC 11 News, the man would "steer the money to either an SAT or ACT administrator or a college coach." At that point, the coach "would arrange a fake profile that listed the prospective student as an athlete," while college entrance exam administrators would "either hire proctors to take the test or correct the answers of a student."
The payments ranged from "a few thousand to up to $6 million," per ABC 11. NBC News reports that the schools included Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale.
Huffman, 56, who is best known for her role on ABC TV series Desperate Housewives, was taken into custody on Tuesday. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, 68, was seen arriving at the courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. He was also accused in the scheme, but it isn't clear why he was not arrested.
Loughlin, 54, best known for her role on ABC sitcom Full House, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and mail fraud. She and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of making payments "totaling $500,000" to have her two daughters "designated as recruits" on USC's crew team "despite the fact that they did not participate in crew."
Among the coaches indicted (some current, some former) include Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith, Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, several USC coaches, UCLA men's soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, Texas men's tennis coach Michael Center.
The full list of people indicted can be viewed here.
Photos by Presley Ann/Getty Images, Rich Fury/Getty Images