Unsealed court documents reveal that actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, known for Desperate Housewives and Fuller House respectively, have been indicted in the nation's largest college admissions scheme to date. The alleged scam involved parents paying exorbitant sums of money in order to get their children into Ivy League schools and other elite universities, either as recruited athletes in sports they didn't play or based on exam scores from tests they didn't take.
This kind of bribery is very different from donations that may endear colleges to children from a certain family, or the idea of Legacy admissions that have long been debated in academic circles. In this instance, parents explicitly paid the organizers to ensure admission through forgery, such as doctoring photos to create the impression of athletic ability, or cheating on standardized tests like the SAT and the ACT.
According to NBC News, Huffman and Loughlin were both taken into custody on Tuesday, along with Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli. They, along with 29 other parents, were found to be part of the scheme that encompassed all sorts of education professionals ranging from college coaches to exam administrators. To make matters worse, the money used to pay for the scheme was allegedly masked by means of a charity. Huffman's husband, director William H. Macy, was not mentioned by name in the indictment, but apparently he also participated in paying $15,000 to have their eldest daughter's SAT taken by someone else.
Loughlin and Giannulli, meanwhile, reportedly spent a much larger sum of $500,000 so that both of their daughters would be labeled USC crew team recruits, despite not actually playing the sport. While neither action guarantees admission, both exponentially increase the chances. In total, mastermind William Rick Singer reportedly received about $25 million from wealthy parents between 2011 and the present in order to bribe administrators and coaches across the nation. While the colleges themselves are not under fire, some have taken decisive action in the wake of these discoveries - Stanford fired its head sailing coach after his racketeering charge came to light, for example.
Neither actress nor their families have made any public statements yet, but Attorney Andrew Lelling, who was in charge of the "Varsity Blues" indictment, has assured the public he will not be going easy on anyone. "There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and, I'll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system either," the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts declared at the press conference Tuesday morning.
Source: NBC News