Actresses Loughlin, Huffman charged in college fraud scheme

Sergio Cunningham
March 13, 2019

"These parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege".

Nine college coaches, two SAT/ACT administrators, one test proctor, one administrator, and 33 parents are now facing charges. Dozens, including Huffman, were arrested by midday.

Those charged included several sports coaches.

Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.

None of the students were charged and most remain at the universities, he said. Huffman was arrested earlier today on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and Loughlin will be turning herself into authorities in Los Angeles later today.

Lelling said the investigation is continuing and authorities believe other parents were involved.

No students were charged. Prosecutors said that some of the children were unaware of the scam, while others were. There simply haven't been many cases like this before. He did not elaborate.

But prosecutors said the scheme wasn't without its hitches.

Among wealthy business leaders charged were Manuel Henriquez, the chief of Hercules Capital; Gamal Abdelaziz, president of Wynn Resorts Development; Gordon Caplan, head of the well-known global law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher; and Gregory Abbott, founder and chairman of worldwide Dispensing Company.

Singer became a cooperating witness with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"And it works?" Caplan asked.

The bribes allegedly were dispensed through an admissions consulting company in Newport Beach, California.

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Defendant William Singer was paid roughly $25 million dollars by parents to help their children get in to schools.

Colleges moved quickly to discipline the coaches accused.

Wake Forest said in a statement it had placed head volleyball coach Bill Ferguson on administrative leave after he was among the coaches accused of accepting bribes. "They got Aunt Becky out here getting cuffed by the feds", said another user.

Once admitted, the students either never showed up on the field, played for a short while before dropping out or feigned injury, prosecutors said.

The coach, Rudolph Meredith, resigned in November after 24 years running the women's soccer team.

Huffman is perhaps best known for her role as Lynette Scavo on the ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives, for which she won an Emmy Award for Best Actress.

In Loughlin's case, she and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid bribes totaling some $500,000 for their two daughters to be accepted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing crew team, despite the fact that neither had ever rowed competitively "or otherwise participate [d] in crew", according to charging documents.

Actress Lori Loughlin, center, poses with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, left, and Isabella Rose Giannulli. With Felicity and William H. Macy, they reportedly made a charitable donation of $15,000 to involve themselves in a college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of their first daughter, though it seems the actor was not indicted. However, the affidavit does state that "Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan".

Macy told Parade magazine in January that the college application process for their daughter was a source of stress. They describe a high school guidance counselor who was concerned about the girls' athletic admissions.

She came under fire in August, when some of her subscribers called her spoiled and privileged over her comments about going to college, featured in videos posted on her YouTube channel. I'm the outlier in this thing.

Mr Lelling said it was the largest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

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