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Famous names ensnared in college admissions scam

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 12, 2019 - Duration: 02:24s

Famous names ensnared in college admissions scam

Federal authorities arrested dozens of people on Tuesday for a $25 million scheme to help wealthy Americans, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and some CEOs, cheat their childrenโ€™s way into elite universities, such as Yale and Stanford.

Lisa Bernhard reports.

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Famous names ensnared in college admissions scam

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREW LELLING, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, SAYING: 'We're here today to announce charges in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.'

A scandal rocking some top U.S. universities Tuesday - and some famous parents as well.

Fifty people have been charged in a conspiracy ring to get kids into elite colleges under false pretenses, arranging for them to cheat on entrance exams and/or bribing college coaches to accept kids for their so-called athletic prowess.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREW LELLING, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, SAYING: 'In return for bribes these coaches agreed to pretend that certain applicants were recruited competitive athletes, when in fact the applicants were not.

As the coaches knew, the students' athletic credentials had been fabricated.'

Among those charged, nine college coaches and 33 parents - including 'Desperate Housewives' star Felicity Huffman, who's married to actor William H.

Macy.

He is not implicated in the case.

Also indicted, onetime 'Full House' star Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

The central defendant, William 'Rick' Singer, is head of a college counseling service in southern California.

Between 2011 and 2018 Singer is said to have received $25 million from wealthy parents to guarantee their children's admission to schools including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford through his foundation, The Key.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREW LELLING, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, SAYING: 'Singer's foundation purported to be a charitable organization, but was actually a front Singer used to launder the money parents paid him, of which he would then take a portion and dole it out as bribes to coaches and others.'

Singer is pleading guilty to charges including racketeering, conspiracy and money-laundering.

The Justice Department also cited the head women's soccer coach at Yale as having accepted an applicant despite knowing the girl didn't play soccer.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREW LELLING, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, SAYING: 'In many instances, Singer helped parents take staged photographs engaged in particular sports.

Other times Singer and his associates used stock photos that they pulled off the internet, sometimes photo-shopping the face of the child onto the picture of the athlete and submitting it in support of the application to elite schools.'

The sailing coach at Stanford is also among those pleading guilty Tuesday to charges related to the case.

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