How much would you pay to ensure your child received the best education? For these parents with deep pockets, the price tag for entrance to the Ivy League was up to $6 million!
Too bad it’s a felony.
According to unsealed court records, more than 40 wealthy, famous people–including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin–were involved in a nationwide college admissions scam.
They paid big bucks to get their kids admitted to Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and USC, among other prestigious schools.
The Justice Department called it the biggest college admissions scandal they’ve ever seen. The scam began in 2011 when a fraudulent college admissions company arranged to bribe SAT and ACT test administrators to alter scores.
They also arranged for the students to receive extra time and other special concessions. In some cases, the company even had other people take the tests in the students’ place.
Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman seems to have paid $15,000–a bargain, compared to other parents–to get her older daughter double the amount of time to complete the SAT. There’s evidence to suggest she pursued the same quick fix for her younger daughter but decided not to go through with it.
In an email chain, Felicity discussed how the test fraud would go down. When the plans hit a snag, she wrote back “Ruh Ro! Looks like [my daughter’s high school] wants to provide own proctor.”
Good to know she was taking this seriously. That “Ruh Ro!” is going to play well in court. Her bond has reportedly been set at $250,000.
Although he wasn’t indicted, her husband William H. Macy also appears to have been involved. In another document unsealed by the courts, a phone transcript reveals that he sat in on a discussion of how to tweak the test scores to get their younger daughter admitted to Georgetown.
Full House actress Lori Loughlin’s daughters also benefitted from the scam. Her parents allegedly paid $500,000 to ensure her girls were admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits to the crew team.
Her oldest daughter, beauty vlogger Olivia Jade, apparently doesn’t care about school anyway. She said in a video posted last summer that she wasn’t sure “how much of school I’m going to attend.” Olivia also took off during the first week of school to do a photoshoot in Fiji–but she wanted to make sure that she still gets to enjoy “game days” and “partying” in college.
Mossimo Giannulli, Lori’s husband, was arrested at their home on Tuesday. Due to the severity of the charges against him, his bond was set at $1 million. Lori was on a flight home at the time, but she is expected to surrender and receive roughly the same terms as her husband.
The company also bribed college coaches to pretend students had been admitted because of their athletic skills. They staged photos of the kids in athletic gear or simply Photoshopped their faces onto the bodies of actual athletes.
School coaches would then agree to pretend that the students had been recruited as athletes. Since the news broke, multiple coaches have been fired from their positions. Coaches from Stanford, Wake Forest, USC, and more were caught up in the scam.
None of the students were charged as part of Operation Varsity Blues. According to the court documents, many of the students didn’t know that fraud had been committed on their behalf.
However, the US attorney on the case, Andrew Lelling, said that some of the students might be facing charges in the future.