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Celebs charged with fraud in buying their children’s admission to top colleges

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Celebs charged with fraud in buying their children’s admission to top colleges

Federal authorities on Tuesday charged 46 people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and college coaches and administrators, in an alleged scheme to win admission to prestigious universities for the children of wealthy parents.

 

At a press conference Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling called the scheme the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.” Yale, Stanford and Georgetown universities were among the schools identified as having been duped into accepting unqualified applicants.

Lelling said the operation, allegedly run out of a Newport Beach, Calif., college-admissions coaching company, had several parts, including coaching applicants to cheat on SAT and ACT admissions tests and bribing athletic coaches to identify applicants as potential recruits who could be admitted under athletic waivers requiring lower academic standards.

 

Among those charged in what law-enforcement officials called Operation Varsity Blues are 33 parents, the owner of the California firm, SAT and ACT test administrators, an exam proctor, a college administrator and college coaches. The FBI said that many of the students — some of whom have already graduated — were kept in the dark by their parents and didn’t know about the scheme. No students were indicted.

 

William Singer, who ran the California company, called Key Worldwide Foundation, was charged with racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Singer, according to Lelling, laundered money he received from parents under the guise of charitable donations. He is one of two charged as co-conspirators who Lelling said he expected to enter guilty pleas Tuesday.

 

“Between 2011 and 2018, wealthy parents paid Singer about $25 million in total to guarantee their children’s admission to elite schools such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, USC, University of Texas, UCLA and Wake Forest,” said Lelling, adding, “We're not talking about donating a building so that a school's more likely to take your son or daughter. We're talking about deception and fraud."

 

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” added Lelling. “They include, for example, CEOs of private and public companies, successful securities and real estate investors, two well-known actresses, a famous fashion designer and a co-chair of a global law firm.”

 

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. (Photos: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. (Photos: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images, Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

 

For Singer’s services, the majority of parents paid between $250,000 and $400,000 per student, payments Singer in part used to bribe college officials, Division I coaches and college exam administrators.

 

He counseled parents to get letters from therapists requesting their children receive more time to take admissions exams. He paid confederates to register for online high school classes in the students’ names, to improve their grade-point averages. And he worked with parents to create fake athletic profiles for their children, including staging photographs and Photoshopping students’ faces onto stock images, to fill slots allotted by schools for student athletes.

 

Lelling implicated the head women’s soccer coach at Yale who “in exchange for $400,000 accepted an applicant as a recruit for the Yale women’s team despite knowing the applicant did not even play competitive soccer.”

 

Others charged include a senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern California (USC), Wake Forest’s women’s volleyball coach, tennis coaches from Georgetown and Texas, Stanford’s sailing coach and the coaches of USC’s men’s and women’s soccer and water polo teams. According to the indictment, they were allegedly bribed "to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits — regardless of their athletic abilities, and in some cases, even though they did not play the sport, they were purportedly recruited to play."

 

Huffman, the Oscar-nominated actress, allegedly paid, together with her husband, $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation for her daughter to take the SAT at a "controlled" testing center where a special proctor would correct answers without the daughter's knowledge. Huffman's husband is the actor William H. Macy, who was not named or charged in the indictment.

 

Huffman and Loughlin were charged with mail fraud.

 

Huffman’s online brand, What The Flicka?, sells mugs that read “Good Enough Mom.” As of Tuesday morning, the mugs were deeply discounted.

 

Lori Loughlin, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli. (Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for Sephora Collection)
From left, Lori Loughlin, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli celebrate the launch of the Olivia Jade X Sephora collaboration on Dec. 14, 2018, in West Hollywood. (Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for Sephora Collection)
 

Loughlin, known for her role as Aunt Becky on "Full House," and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, “agreed to pay 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 released indictment.

 

Loughlin’s daughters, Isabella Rose Giannulli, 20, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, are both enrolled at University of Southern California. Olivia Jade Giannulli posted photos of herself in a USC college dorm room last summer in a promo ad sponsored by Amazon.

 

In 2017, before Isabella Rose enrolled, Loughlin was asked on the “Today” show how she was preparing for her daughter’s departure for college. Loughlin said, “I think that I’m in complete denial. I really am. Because when I think about it too much, it will make me cry.”

 

Last year, before attending USC, Olivia Jade explained in a YouTube video that she wasn’t actually all that interested in education, preferring to concentrate on her career as a beauty influencer on YouTube. “With work, it’s going to be hard. My first week of school, I'm leaving to go to Fiji for work.”

 

She continued: “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend. But I’m going to go in and talk to my deans and everyone and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like game days, partying … I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”

 

https://news.yahoo.com/celebs-charged-with-fraud-in-buying-their-childrens-admission-to-top-colleges-180302288.html

 

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It's one thing to raise privileged useless kids. It's entirely another thing to use your wealth unleashing them on society to deny hard working kids a chance to better themselves by cheating them out of their spots.

 

 

Edited by nuckin_futz
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I want to repost the funny "Aunt Becky" tweets I did in my status update, but only one person found them funny.  :lol:

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This is what they get for being cheap... could have just “gifted” or “donated” a little bit more directly the school for a new pavilion or football equipment whatever, and their kids would have been accepted no question..

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Just now, Fanuck said:

Let's be honest about this,  the only thing surprising here is that the authorities had the guts to lay charges.  Reasonable people understand those with power and wealth can/will often use said power/wealth to influence others, that part isn't news imo. 

It's an open secret that Trump got into Wharton only because his father bought his way in. 

 

The mistake that these celebrities and business people made was that they committed these acts through the mail and over the internet.  That drags the feds into it. 

 

Had they just bought a plane ticket and walked into a University office with a suitcase full of cash, or a check marked "donation" in the memo line they would have been fine.  That falls under state and local purview.

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2 minutes ago, Ronaldoescobar said:

This is what they get for being cheap... could have just “gifted” or “donated” a little bit more directly the school for a new pavilion or football equipment whatever, and their kids would have been accepted no question..

People have to stop beating my posts!  :angry::lol:

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7 minutes ago, SabreFan1 said:

It's an open secret that Trump got into Wharton only because his father bought his way in. 

 

The mistake that these celebrities and business people made was that they committed these acts through the mail and over the internet.  That drags the feds into it. 

 

Had they just bought a plane ticket and walked into a University office with a suitcase full of cash, or a check marked "donation" in the memo line they would have been fine.  That falls under state and local purview.

Nah, the mistake was bribing individuals at the school, rather than just bribing the school directly. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, HerrDrFunk said:

Nah, the mistake was bribing individuals at the school, rather than just bribing the school directly. 

 

That's why I said University office.  It still floors me that she bribed a rowing coach.

Edited by SabreFan1

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This story is the definition of privilege.

 

Look at what you have to do in India to help your kid cheat on entrance exams.

 

indiacheatingap408013340760.jpg

Indian relatives climb the wall of a building to help students appearing in an examination in Hajipur, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

 

PATNA, India -- About 600 high school students in eastern India have been expelled for cheating on pressure-packed 10th grade examinations this week, education authorities said Friday.

 

The incident has received widespread attention after Indian television footage showed parents and friends of students scaling the outer walls of school buildings to pass cheat sheets to students inside taking exams.

 

The Washington Post reported that photos and videos showing people scaling the school walls went viral in India on Thursday.

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/indian-parents-scale-school-wall-to-help-students-cheat-on-exams/

 

************************************

 

 

You literally have to risk your life climbing a building in order to pass your kid a cheat sheet. Imagine how disappointed you'd be to learn your kid's test was on the 4th floor?

 

 

 

 

Edited by nuckin_futz
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5 minutes ago, nuckin_futz said:

This story is the definition of privilege.

 

Look at what you have to do in India to help your kid cheat on entrance exams.

 

indiacheatingap408013340760.jpg

Indian relatives climb the wall of a building to help students appearing in an examination in Hajipur, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

 

You literally have to risk your life climbing a building in order to pass your kid a cheat sheet. Imagine how disappointed you'd be to learn your kid's test was on the 4th floor?

 

I shouldn't laugh but that is so incredibly ridiculous...  I remember in the 80's when people thought that Japanese parents were too tough on their kids about school.  This takes it to a new level.

Edited by SabreFan1
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44 minutes ago, nuckin_futz said:

This story is the definition of privilege.

 

Look at what you have to do in India to help your kid cheat on entrance exams.

 

indiacheatingap408013340760.jpg

Indian relatives climb the wall of a building to help students appearing in an examination in Hajipur, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

 

PATNA, India -- About 600 high school students in eastern India have been expelled for cheating on pressure-packed 10th grade examinations this week, education authorities said Friday.

 

The incident has received widespread attention after Indian television footage showed parents and friends of students scaling the outer walls of school buildings to pass cheat sheets to students inside taking exams.

 

The Washington Post reported that photos and videos showing people scaling the school walls went viral in India on Thursday.

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/indian-parents-scale-school-wall-to-help-students-cheat-on-exams/

 

************************************

 

 

You literally have to risk your life climbing a building in order to pass your kid a cheat sheet. Imagine how disappointed you'd be to learn your kid's test was on the 4th floor?

 

 

 

 

kinda like how some people get icbc drivers licenses   cheat and bribe   lol

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Just read that Lori Loughlin made the cheque out to a "foundation/charity".  If she wrote that 500k off in her taxes, this could get real ugly for her and her husband.  Tax fraud can get you a sentence in "Club Fed".

 

Aunt Becky could be getting traded by Big Bertha for cartons of cigarettes by this time next year!  :o

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Sadly we can't nab all the folks cheating and buying their way into Canadian schools as they do it outside the country, and the schools rely on those sweet nouveau riche foreign dollars too heavily.

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4 minutes ago, SabreFan1 said:

 

Aunt Becky could be getting traded by Big Bertha for cartons of cigarettes by this time next year!  :o

tenor.gif

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2 minutes ago, Twilight Sparkle said:

 

This sounds familiar xD

 

 

Great movie!  :lol:

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Another example of how university is mostly a meaningless credential that applies privilege and namesake but little else. Much like private schools, I've met far more dummies in the private system than the public - only the private system let's you rub shoulders with and get sweet heart contracts from your rich buddies.

 

Go get a trade or perform a service, read Chaucer and Marx on your own time.

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7 minutes ago, Team Bagues said:

Another example of how university is mostly a meaningless credential that applies privilege and namesake but little else. Much like private schools, I've met far more dummies in the private system than the public - only the private system let's you rub shoulders with and get sweet heart contracts from your rich buddies.

 

Go get a trade or perform a service, read Chaucer and Marx on your own time.

Trade isn't all glamorous as people make it out to be. Both my friends do it and they're stuck traveling all over the lower mainland coming out from the valley. One of them does it 60 hours a week with no real say in it either; sure, maybe he makes good money but he beats the piss out of himself doing it and says goodbye to his Saturday because he's stuck working it.

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