Feds charge dozens in widespread U.S. college admissions scam

Feds charge dozens in widespread U.S. college admissions scam

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the more than 40 people arrested for paying bribes to get their children into elite schools, including Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA and Yale.

Prosecutors said parents paid Singer from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to fill slots the universities allocated for new players with his clients' children, regardless of their athletic ability.

"These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege", Lelling said.

"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.

Some of the 33 parents charged Tuesday with cheating to get their children into prestigious schools may have paid enough in bribes to cover the full cost of a college education and then some.

The central figure in the scheme was identified as admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California.

She appeared Tuesday in a federal court in Los Angeles where a judge set bond for her at $250,000 and federal agents took her passport.

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.

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among some 50 people charged in the massive scam to cheat on admission to elite USA universities that involved bribes, fraudulent test scores and even fake photographs.

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Prosecutors alleged Huffman met with a confidential witness who explained that he could control an SAT testing center and could arrange for someone to proctor her daughter's test and correct it.

The case sparked outrage across the country, especially among parents who stress about the intense competition for places in universities and, more broadly, about privileged behaviour among the richest Americans. "The Giannullis agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team- despite the fact they did not participate in crew - thereby facilitating their admission to USC", the papers read. Their 19-year-old daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, a social media star with a popular YouTube channel, is now at USC.

Huffman, Loughlin and dozens of wealthy executives and lawyers were charged with participating in a "large-scale, elaborate fraud" to create a "rigged system" at prominent colleges like Yale, USC, Stanford and UCLA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

"What we do is help the wealthiest families in the USA get their kids into school.my families want a guarantee", he allegedly said.

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

The case is being described as the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the US Department of Justice.

How did the alleged scheme work?

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

Part of the scheme involved advising parents to lie to test administrators that their child had learning disabilities that allowed them extra exam time.

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