The Federal Bureau of Investigation has carried out an investigation into an alleged college admissions scam and discovered that dozens of influential families and college officials from top universities engaged in practices involving “getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams.
The ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ thoroughly vetted both parents as well as educational institutions’ officials and discovered that 33 parents, including TV stars Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, paid William Singer, a college admissions counselor, a collective sum of $25 million.
The massive sum was used to bribe “college officials, coaches and college entrance exam administrators, who then helped students’ secure admissions ‘not on their merits but through fraud.’”
According to the FBI, the bribes were directed to high-ranking officials representing elite universities including Yale, UCLA, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, and to administrators responsible for overseeing SAT and ACT college entrance exams.
In one specific case, “the head women’s soccer coach at Yale was paid $400,000 to accept a student even though the applicant did not play soccer. The parents of that student had allegedly paid Singer $1.2 million.”
In other cases, Singer would facilitate cheating on entrance exams by asking other students to take ACTs and SATs in place of children of parents who bribed him.
Allegedly, the corrupt college admissions counselor would occasionally also pose as a student, “provide students with answers during the exams,” and “correct their answers after they had completed the exams.”
Now, after refusing to plead guilty to fraud charges, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have been charged not only with mail fraud but also with money laundering for paying “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.
According to the US Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts, “the charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
“The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” the Office added.
However, it was suggested that Loughlin and Giannulli might not face the money laundering charge if they choose to plead guilty of fraud.
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