Hollywood actresses among 40 charged with over United States college fraud scheme

Lori Loughlin

Lori Loughlin Mona Shafer Edwards BACKGRID

In a press conference, Andrew Lelling, the United States attorney for MA, stated that the primary defendant in the case, William "Rick" Singer, allegedly ran a charitable organization that was actually a front doling out bribes to college coaches and administrators. 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.

Ms Huffman, a former best actress Oscar nominee, who is married to fellow actor William H Macy, starred in the ABC TV series Desperate Housewives.

Loughlin and her husband allegedly "agreed to pay bribes totalling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team - despite the fact that they did not participate in crew - thereby facilitating their admission to USC".

Both of their daughters, Olivia and Isabella, are now studying at the university.

The racketeering conspiracy charges unveiled Tuesday were also brought against athletic coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown University and the University of Southern California.

The FBI said 13 defendants have been taken into custody in the Los Angeles area, including Huffman.

Over the one-year investigation, investigators supported by informants recorded conversations between parents and Singer's people discussing just how high to elevate the scores and how to prevent the students from discovering the reason behind their test results.

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli

Yale University and the University of Southern California (USC) said in separate statements that they were cooperating with investigators. 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.

According to TMZ, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin have been charged in this bribery scam.

Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a press conference Tuesday that Singer used some of that money to bribe test administrators and college coaches.

Mr Lelling said it was the largest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The parents were then advised to choose one of two test centers that Singer's company said it had control over: one in Houston, Texas, and the other in West Hollywood, California. None of the children were charged today.

"Singer worked with the parents to fabricate impressive athletic profiles for their kids", Lelling said, adding that in some cases students faces were placed, using the image editing program Photoshop, onto the bodies of athletes.

The first to cooperate in the probe, beginning in April 2018, has been identified as Rudy Meredith, head coach of women's soccer at Yale.

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