College admissions are no joke, especially when it comes to the ivy leagues, which heavily favor not only legacy candidates but those who hold a financial advantage. On Tuesday, ABC News reported that 50 individuals, including actresses Lori Loughlin (Full House) and Felicity Hoffman (Desperate Housewives), along with dozens of CEOs and other high ranking business executives, were charged in a wide-reaching college admissions scam, in which they allegedly gamed the system. They’re accused of handing over up to $6 million (according to Variety) to guarantee their children’s admissions to several elite universities, including but not limited to Georgetown, Stanford, and Yale.
The Justice Department has published the full list of those who have been indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit racketeering to mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The list also includes some Olympic sports coaches at the universities listed, and ABC reports that most of the students who benefited from this alleged scheme weren’t aware of their parents’ tactics. This apparently included the gaming of test scores, given that one of the key witnesses is said to be a director of college exam prep. Here’s some language from the massive indictment that unfurled in a Boston federal court:
“Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants — principally individuals whose high-school age children were applying to college — conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California — Los Angeles.”
Specifically, Huffman is accused of employing the method twice for her two daughters in the form of “charitable contributions,” and Loughlin (and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli) allegedly handed over “bribes totaling $500,000” to have her daughters named as University of Southern California sports recruits for a sport in which they “did not participate” but which guaranteed them admission. Huffman’s husband, William H. Macy, was not listed in the indictment as a defendant.
Neither actress has commented to reporters at this time, although a Justice Department press conference has been going down, as you can see in the below CNN clip. According to the charges, the defendants “knowingly” participated in the college admissions scheme while leaving paper and voice mail trails. Not only that, but some students must have also allegedly been aware of what was happening, given that “a third party took the ACT and SAT college entrance exams in place of students.”