A who’s who of famous names, from actresses to CEOs, have been arrested as part of a national college admissions cheating scam, according to court records unsealed in Boston Tuesday.
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.
The scam, said prosecutors, arranged for children to be recruited as athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities. Academic officials, including the former women’s soccer coach at Yale University, are also facing charges.
“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,” an affidavit supporting the indictment said.
Also named in the indictment are William E. McGlashan Jr., founder and managing partner of TPG Growth, a Silicon Valley investment fund, wine baron Agustin Huneeus, Robert Zangrillo, CEO of venture firm Dragon Global, Gordon Caplan, co-chairman of the notable law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, Elisabeth Kimmel, owner of Midwest Television and a board member at Ballast Point Brewing and former Pimco CEO Doug Hodge.
The bribes reportedly went as high as $6 million. The children, generally, did not realize their admission was due to a bribe.
Huffman, who starred on TV’s Desperate Housewives and her spouse, actor William H. Macy, allegedly “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000…to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter. Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so.”
Loughlin, who most recently starred on the Netflix’s comedy Fuller House, and her husband are accused of agreeing to pay $500,000 in bribe to have their daughters recruited to the USC crew team, even though they had not previously participated in crew sports.
“The charges brought forth today are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education,” the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) said in a statement Tuesday. “We are looking into these allegations to determine the extent to which NCAA rules may have been violated.”