Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Actresses Huffman, Loughlin among 50 charged in US college fraud scheme

Actresses, CEO's among those arrested in college admissions scam Dozens of people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, indicted in college admissions scam
Charles Bowen | 13 March, 2019, 01:28

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 50 people arrested and charged in connection with the largest college admission scam in American history. It's a serious matter, but it's still undeniably amusing that the woman who played "Aunt Becky" on one of the most popular sitcoms of the '90s is implicated.

Huffman, a best actress Oscar-nominee for the 2005 film "Transamerica", was arrested in Los Angeles Tuesday on charges of felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman, who is married to fellow actor William H. Macy, starred in the ABC TV series "Desperate Housewives".

As ET previously reported, Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters - Isabella, 20, and Olivia, 19 - deemed as recruits for USC's crew team though they never actually participated in the sport.

Others facing charges are the former women's soccer coach at Yale, the senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern California, the women's volleyball coach at Wake Forest University, and the sailing coach at Stanford.

Ms Huffman and Ms Loughlin were due to appear in Federal Court in Los Angeles later on Tuesday, prosecutors said. Messages seeking comment from Huffman's representatives were not immediately returned. The parents of that student had allegedly paid Singer $1.2 million.

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It added: "Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so".

Others arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, an exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, according to United States attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling. "Your parents' actions robbed a student from a position at this university". Basically rich people paid him a ton to bribe and defraud their kids into colleges they couldn't otherwise get accepted to.

Lelling said, via CNN: "This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud".

The parents were then advised to choose one of two test centres that Mr Singer's company said it had control over: one in Houston, Texas, and the other in West Hollywood, California.

Some of the 32 defendants are accused of bribing administrators to facilitate cheating on college-entrance exams - by having a smarter student take the test, providing students with answers to exams or correcting their answers after they had completed the exams, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court. None of the children are being charged for now.

The racketeering conspiracy case includes the parents of applicants, ACT and SAT administrators, a test proctor, and coaches at universities including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California.

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