Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Hollywood stars swept up in college bribery scam

Hollywood stars swept up in college bribery scam

"The federal government has alleged that USC is a victim in a scheme perpetrated against the university by a long-time Athletics Department employee, one current coach and three former coaching staff, who were allegedly involved in a college admissions scheme and have been charged by the government on multiple charges", Austin said.

In case you were anxious about running out scammer stories in 2019, NBC broke the news Tuesday morning that 44 people have been indicted in a "large-scale college entrance exam cheating scam", with Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman headlining the celebrities charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

Both actresses were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

It alleges that a third party took the ACT and SAT college entrance exams in place of students.

The firm also allegedly created detailed fake athletic profiles for students - including photo-shopping the faces of potential students on to pictures of athletes found online - allowing students to be recruited on athletic scholarships.

Authorities said the crimes date back to 2011, and the defendants used "bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission" to numerous college and universities, including Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of California Los Angeles, among others.

USC President Wanda Austin addressed her university's involvement in a nationwide college admissions cheating, bribery and recruitment scheme. Representatives for Loughlin had no comment.

At least two Houstonians were indicted in the scheme: Martin Fox, who is the president of a private tennis academy in Houston, and Niki Williams, an assistant teacher at a Houston high school and test administrator for the College Board and ACT.

Court documents say Huffman paid $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could partake in the college entrance cheating scam. Her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was arrested at their home.

None of the students involved were charged as many were not aware of the scam, authorities said.

The documents unsealed from the investigation - called Operation Varsity Blues - showed Tuesday that Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith is alleged to have helped non-recruits get into the prestigious Ivy League school by claiming they were recruits. Athletic coaches, parents and exam administrators were also implicated. Huffman is perhaps best known for her role in ABC's Desperate Housewives and Loughlin ABC's Full House in the late 1980s and the more recent Fuller House.

He is expected to plead guilty in federal court Tuesday.

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