Fifty people were charged Tuesday, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, 13 college coaches, and powerful CEOs, for taking part in a scheme where wealthy parents paid exorbitant sums to secure spots for their unqualified children in elite schools, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, UCLA, USC and Wake Forest. Parents reportedly paid up to $6.5 million to gain access to the schools. This is U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling announcing the charges.
Andrew Lelling: “These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege. Based on the charges unsealed today, all of them knowingly conspired with Singer and others to help their children either cheat on the SAT or ACT and/or buy their children’s admission to elite schools through fraud.”
At the center of the scheme is Newport Beach, California, man Rick Singer, who promised parents he could get their children into the schools—for a hefty fee. Singer pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He also bribed school coaches to give to his clients admissions slots reserved for student athletes in sports including crew and soccer. He went as far as to stage fake photos of his student clients engaging in sports they never played, or to digitally place the faces of his clients onto images found online of athletes. Prosecutors also accuse Rick Singer of helping students cheat on their college entrance exams. We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.