As the college admissions scandal–code name Operation Varsity Blues–continues to unfold, we have one major question. Will the kids, like Olivia Jade, face any legal consequences?
According to a report from CNN, federal prosecutors sent “target letters” to people who might be the subject of an ongoing criminal probe. Those targets included current students as well as alumni.
The law enforcement official who leaked the news couldn’t say whether these students were the children of people already indicted in the case.
Why send letters at all? It’s common in cases of white-collar crime. Typically, if you get a target letter it means that you might be arrested soon. The letters are often used as a tool to convince people to accept a plea bargain sooner rather than later.
Ever since the news broke that 50 people–including actresses, CEOs, and other wealthy, high-profile people–had been arrested in a massive college admissions scam, we’ve been hitting that refresh button. And as more and more details emerged, it became clear that at least some of the students involved had been aware of what their parents did to get them in school.
It’s been particularly fascinating to watch Olivia Jade, Lori Loughlin’s daughter. On the one hand, she made it clear that she had no interest in going to college. That was her parents’ dream, not hers. On the other, once she arrived at USC, Olivia Jade used her time in college to party on the Chairman of the Board’s yacht and film sponsored videos for her Instagram.
After the scandal broke, major brands like Tresseme and Sephora dropped her. It’s hard not to feel just a little bit satisfied to see her mini-mogul empire crumble. She’s reportedly been avoiding her parents by hiding out with her boyfriend.
We’ll have to wait and see if Olivia Jade and her sister, Isabella, will become targets of the prosecution. Felicity Huffman’s daughter could also be named. If the investigation is going after alumni as well, it could result in not only criminal prosecution but also having their degrees torn up.
Although the juiciest part of the scandal is waiting to see whether Lori and Felicity will end up behind bars, there are potentially even bigger consequences for the entire college industry. The scandal calls into question the fairness of all college admissions.
In mid-March, Stanford students filed a class-action lawsuit against the 8 colleges named in the indictments. They argue that, since the public now knows that these institutions can be bought off, their degrees are worth less than promised. A mother also filed a suit on behalf of her child who was denied admission to USC.
It’s possible that this scandal will lead to more than just Desperate Housewives: Minimum Security Prison. We might see a lot more fraud and bribery brought to light.