College Bribery Scandal Quickly Moves From Indictments To Guilty Pleas

TOPSHOT - Actress Felicity Huffman is seen inside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles, on March 12, 2019. - Two Hollywood actresses including Oscar-nominated "Desperate Housewives... TOPSHOT - Actress Felicity Huffman is seen inside the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Los Angeles, on March 12, 2019. - Two Hollywood actresses including Oscar-nominated "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman are among 50 people indicted in a nationwide university admissions scam, court records unsealed in Boston on March 12, 2019 showed. The accused, who also include chief executives, allegedly cheated to get their children into elite schools, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.Huffman, 56, and Lori Loughlin, 54, who starred in "Full House," are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. A federal judge set bond at $250,000 for Felicity Huffman after she was charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal. (Photo by DAVID MCNEW / AFP) (Photo credit should read DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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BOSTON (AP) — A college admissions scandal moved from bombshell indictments to guilty pleas in a matter of hours, yet the full fallout from the federal case against the rich and famous could take months or more to unfold.

Big names such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin headline the list of some 50 people charged in documents released Tuesday that describe a scheme to cheat the admissions process at eight sought-after schools. The parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools, authorities said.

At the center of the scheme was admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California, authorities said. Singer pleaded guilty and his lawyer, Donald Heller, said his client intends to cooperate fully with prosecutors and is “remorseful and contrite and wants to move on with his life.”

Prosecutors said that parents paid Singer big money from 2011 up until just last month to bribe coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes to boost their chances of getting accepted. The consultant also hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students, and paid off insiders at testing centers to correct students’ answers.

Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and some as much as $6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said.

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were charged. Dozens, including Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” were arrested by midday Tuesday. Huffman posted a $250,000 bond after an appearance in federal court in Los Angeles. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, has not been charged, though an FBI agent stated in an affidavit that he was in the room when Huffman first heard the pitch from a scam insider.

It was unclear when the “Full House” star Loughlin would turn herself in. Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was released in Los Angeles after posting a $1 million bond.

On Wednesday, a Silicon Valley hedge fund announced that it is replacing its head after he became ensnared in the scandal.

Manuel Henriquez, who was also the top executive investment giant PIMCO until 2016, will be replaced as CEO and chairman of Hercules Capital in Palo Alto, California. Henriquez was arrested in New York City on Tuesday and released on $500,000 bail. Shares of the hedge fund plunged 9 percent.

Hercules said that Henriquez will still hold a seat on the board and will serve as an adviser.

The coaches worked at schools such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Stanford’s sailing coach John Vandemoer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Boston. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty before the documents went public and helped build the case against others.

No students were charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of what was going on. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking any action against the students.

Several defendants, including Huffman, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” Lelling said.

Lelling said the investigation is continuing and authorities believe other parents were involved. The IRS is also investigating, since some parents allegedly disguised the bribes as charitable donations.

The colleges themselves are not targets, the prosecutor said. A number of the institutions moved quickly to fire or suspend the coaches and distance their name from the scandal, portraying themselves as victims. Stanford fired the sailing coach, and USC dropped its water polo coach and an athletic administrator. UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.

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  1. Hmmmm. Rich folks cheating to “win” because their pampered darlings are not up to snuff.

    Wonder how many are Goopers?

  2. By any means necessary, when white priviledge is not enough.

  3. A fking SAILING coach? No wonder tuition is as high as it is.

  4. All this seems expected, somehow. Like of course this has been happening. I’d not be surprised to learn that this has been Standard Operating Proceedure since the dawn of time.

  5. Avatar for 1gg 1gg says:

    Let’s see Trump’s SATs to see how he got into Penn and while we’re at it how about military deferments for the likes of Cadet Bone Spurs and 5 time Deferment Dick Cheney.

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