In one of the stranger news stories of the year, 50 people were indicted on Tuesday in what prosecutors are calling a large-scale college admission bribery scam.
Per The Inquisitr, the most prominent names in the indictment were actresses Lori Loughlin — who played Aunt Becky on both the original and the rebooted Full House — and Felicity Huffman, best known for her roles on Sports Night and Desperate Housewives.
Also ensnared in the alleged scheme were business executives and college sports coaches. It’s a story that raises major questions about the integrity of both college admissions and the distribution of athletic scholarships.
The colleges involved include USC, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, the University of Texas and Georgetown. The indictments were handed down in federal court in Boston.
None of the initial news reports mentioned the involved coaches by name, but the actual documents provided by Justice.gov name several coaches — including Georgetown’s tennis coach, a former head coach and assistant coach of women’s soccer at USC, the water polo coach at USC, and the sailing coach at Stanford. Also indicted was the senior associate athletic director at USC.
Several of the coaches and the athletic department personnel were charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, including Georgetown’s Gordon Ernst, USC’s Ali Khosroshahin, Laura Janke, and Donna Heinel, and Stanford’s John Vandemoer.
Stephen Semprevivo, an executive with Cydcor, was also indicted — one of the 33 parents charged.
William Rick Singer, prosecutors said, was the central figure in the scheme, one which was uncovered during an IRS probe of a fraudulent charity.
According to ABC News, the indictments arose from a California man who allegedly ran a scam in which parents of prospective college students would pay a certain amount of money him. He would in turn direct money towards either college athletic coaches or an SAT or ACT administrator. The scheme also involved fake athletic profiles.
Huffman, per the story, and her husband — Fargo and Shameless actor William H. Macy — made a “purported charitable contribution of $15,000.” This donation was allegedly geared towards getting their older child into college. Huffman also reportedly considered participating in the payment scheme again, for her second child, but ultimately decided against it. Macy was not named in the indictment.
Loughlin is said to have “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team.” Loughlin’s husband is Mossimo Giannulli, founder of the Mossimo clothing brand.
Most students, however, were not aware that their college admissions were ill-gotten, according to the reports.