Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 50 people arrested in connection with the largest college admission scam in American history.
NBC news reported that the alleged scheme involved parents bribing coaches and administrators to secure their children’s admittance into elite universities.
The alleged scam which involved students being placed into top colleges such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas – saw fake athletic profiles created to give the false impression that applicants were student athletes.
Loughlin’s two daughters were allegedly designated as recruits for USC’s crew team — even though neither girl had ever participated in crew.
The scam was reportedly run by a man in California, William Rick Singer allegedly helped parents get their kids into the schools through bribes, court documents showed.
Singer, who authorities said will plead guilty to racketeering, ran the charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, which received $25 million in total to guarantee the admissions, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said during a Tuesday news conference. The charitable foundation was used as a front to run the scam.
In other instances, parents bribed administrators of college entrance exams. In the case of Huffman’s daughter, she was given twice the amount of time usually given to students taking the SAT, and a proctor later corrected her wrong answers.
Both actresses were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud. Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also charged.
Huffman is best known for her role as Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives, for which she won an Emmy for Best Actress. Loughlin portrayed Rebecca Donaldson in ABC sitcom Full House.
“This is a case where they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat to the system so they could set their children up for success with the best money can buy,” Joseph Bonavolonta from the FBI Boston Field Office said in a Tuesday news conference.
Parents would reportedly pay a specified amount of money, which would go toward a SAT or ACT administrator or a college athletic coach who would fake a profile for the prospective student.
“Singer would accommodate what parents wanted to do,” Lelling said, adding that it “appears that the schools are not involved.”
“There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy and there will not be a separate criminal justice system either,” Lelling said. “We’re not talking about donating a building so a school is more likely to take your son or daughter, we’re talking about deception or fraud.”