Operation Varsity Blues

Written by on March 13, 2019

Being stated “the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted”, among the parents, coaches and college executives being accused is one Felicity Huffman, former star on Desperate Housewives.

Source: Edition.cnn.com via Eric Levenson and Mark Morales

The aforementioned suspects are being accused of carrying out nationwide fraud to get students into highly prestigious schools such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California. The plot had two major pieces in effect:

  1. Parents had paid the college preparation organization to take the test on behalf of the students (who were children of the parents), or to correct their answers and raise their scores.
  2. The organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help the students bypass admissions and be recruited for their athletic abilities, regardless of their actual sporty capabilities. Some instances reported that defendants had created fake athletic profiles for the students as well.

A total of 50 people were charged in this criminal investigation which was called “Operation Varsity Blues”: 33 parents, two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, and one college administrator according to Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts. The parents occupations included very “wealthy and privileged lifestyles”, such as actors, CEOs, fashion designers, and a co-chairman of a global law firm.

Lelling states the following about the case:

“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud. There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add that there will not be a separate criminal justice system either. For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.” The fallout was swift Tuesday as several college coaches and one administrator were either fired or placed on administrative leave. At least one school launched an internal investigation.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are not just the most famous names in the case; their cases represent the two major aspects of the alleged scheme.
Huffman, an Academy Award nominee, has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to court paperwork filed Monday in federal court in Massachusetts. She was arrested without incident at her home, the FBI said.
She appeared Tuesday in a federal court in Los Angeles and a judge set bond for her at $250,000. Under the terms of her bond, Huffman also surrendered her passport. Her next court date has been set for March 29 in Boston. Best known for her role on TV’s Desperate Housewives, Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to William Rick Singer’s fake charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the complaint says.

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