TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, along with 48 others, were charged in a nationwide bribery scam involving elite American colleges.
Court documents unsealed on March 12 alleged that the individuals were involved in a nationwide conspiracy to facilitate cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities, including Yale and Stanford.
“Dozens of individuals involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
The actresses allegedly paid money to get their children into elite universities.
Loughlin allegedly gave $500,000 to say that her child was part of the rowing team when it wasn’t true, People magazine reported.
Meanwhile, Huffman is reportedly accused of giving $15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter.”
Some named in the documents allegedly paid as much as $6 million to get their kids to elite universities, which also include University of California–Los Angeles, Georgetown, University of Southern California, University of San Diego, University of Texas, and Wake Forest University.
𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚: Felicity Huffman & Lori Loughlin among people indicted in massive college bribery scheme.
The alleged scheme also helped high school athletes get into high-level colleges despite their abilities, said the U.S attorney’s office.
Loughlin is best known for her role on “Full House” while Huffman is known for her role on “Desperate Housewives.”
Huffman’s spouse is longtime actor William H. Macy, but he wasn’t indicted.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a March 12 live news conference that “there can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy and there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”
“We’re not talking about donating a building so a school is more likely to take your son or daughter, we’re talking about deception or fraud,” he added.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained court documents in the case that said arrest warrants have been issued for the parents. It also said that Huffman and Macy were both accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme, adding that Macy wasn’t named. It didn’t elaborate on why he wasn’t.
Federal prosecutors in Boston charged William “Rick” Singer, 58, with running the racketeering scheme through his Edge College & Career Network, which served a roster of clients including chief executives and Hollywood actresses, Reuters reported.
Those indicted – including the actresses – allegedly paid millions in bribes to get their children into elite colleges such as Yale and Stanford. Get all the details:
Prosecutors said Singer’s operation arranged for fake testers to take college admissions exams in place of his clients’ children, and in some cases arranged for applicants to be listed as recruited athletes even if they had no athletic ability.
Singer pleaded guilty in Boston federal court to charges including racketeering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice, according to court papers. He could not be reached for immediate comment.
On a call with a wealthy parent, prosecutors said, Singer summed up his business thusly: “What we do is help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school … my families want a guarantee.”
Reps for Huffman and Loughlin have not issued public statements on the matter.
Reuters contributed to this report.