'Desperate Housewives' actor Felicity Huffman charged in college entrance scandal
In one of the largest college admissions scams in the US, Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives star, was arrested on Tuesday. Huffman, along with actor Lori Loughlin, is among the 33 parents who are accused of bribing to get their children admitted to prestigious universities like Yale, Stanford and USC. Huffman and Loughlin are said to have paid somewhere between several thousand dollars and $6.5m.
SAT, ACT scores tweaked, fake athletic credentials presented
The alleged fraud helped children of rich people get into universities by showing fake athletic credentials or by tweaking their answers in their SATs and ACTs (college entrance tests for undergrad courses). And why good athletic records? Because if the coach selects you for the college team, it becomes easy to get admission in prestigious universities. After the admission, they would attend regular orientation.
Who is the mastermind, and what was the modus operandi
Till now, 50 names have emerged, including that of 13 university sports coaches and test operators, and the main accused, William Singer. Singer, an admission counselor, helped these kids get admitted to reputed universities via 'the side door'. He then laundered money via a bogus charity he ran and gave millions of dollars to sport coaches and test operators to tweak the admission process.
Know the different 'doors' that get you admission
Singer said that to get into any university there is a front door, through which admission is done in the regular way, a back door, which doesn't guarantee admission. Finally, 'the side door', which guarantees admission via corrupted system. Apart from using 'side door,' Singer also tweaked information, like affirmative action (which ensures people who were historically discriminated get equal opportunities), to take advantage.
Huffman knew this would happen some day, media reports say
Charges of racketeering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice were pressed against Singer by the Federal prosecutors, who pleaded guilty. The case, named as Operation Varsity Blues, has 13 people, arrested till now for conspiracy and committing mail fraud, and all are being tried in the court. Huffman, who was arrested from her house yesterday morning, was aware that this would happen, reports suggested.
'Full House' actor Loughlin in Canada, to surrender on Wednesday
Loughlin, on the other hand, was shooting in Vancouver when the FBI showed up at her house. Her designer husband, Mossimo, was arrested instead, but he was out on bail, just like Huffman. It's speculated that the Full House star will surrender tomorrow morning. The 54-year-old actor allegedly paid $500,000 to Singer to get her daughters into University of California under fake sports scholarships.
These parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege: Attorney
The US Attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, talked about the investigation on Tuesday. He said that the parents that included actors, CEOs, a fashion designer and the co-chairman of a global law firm were a "catalog of wealth and privilege." "This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth, combined with fraud," he observed.