Now that federal agents have uncovered a far-reaching college admissions cheating scam — one that involves elite universities and high-profile celebrities (including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman) — there is still the matter of what will happen to those implicated.
Federal court records unsealed on Tuesday in Boston name 50 people who have been indicted as part of a nationwide scheme, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, per People.
“Dozens of individuals involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston,” the release said.
There is the possibility of prison time in this case, though it is not likely, said James J. Leonard Jr., an Atlantic City legal expert.
“This is a federal prosecution brought forth by the Department of Justice that carries with it potential life-altering consequences for those involved. The stakes could not be higher. A custodial term is always a possibility when you are charged with felonies. The question to ask is if it’s a probability, and in this case, I don’t see it as a probability with respect to the parents involved.”
Huffman allegedly contributed $15,000 “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter,” according to the indictment.
Also implicated in the indictment, Loughlin allegedly offered $500,000 to offer admission to her child as a member of the rowing team.
“At the end of the day, we are talking about parents who tried to help their children,” Leonard said. “And crossed the line in doing so.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI stated in the indictment that the alleged scam aided students in securing entry into top schools by helping them cheat on college exams.
Loughlin is an actor, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on the ABC sitcom Full House. The documents state that she and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid bribes in order to promote false information about their daughters to colleges. The parents purportedly paid $500,000 in exchange for having the two girls presented as newcomers to the University of Southern California crew team, even though they had never seriously participated in said sport. The alleged pretense was given to enable their admission to USC.
Email evidence that allegedly implicates Loughlin in the scam is existent, according to the documents. She is set to appear in court Tuesday.