1. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Lelling, United States Attorney:
"We're here today to announce charges in the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice. We've charged 50 people nationwide with participating in a conspiracy that involved, first, cheating on college entrance exams, meaning the S.A.T. and the ACT, and second, securing admission to elite colleges by bribing coaches at those schools to accept certain students under false pretenses."
2. Flow chart showing still of Rick Singer
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Lelling, United States Attorney:
"A central defendant in the scheme, William Singer, will plead guilty today to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice."
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4. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Lelling, United States Attorney:
"Singer allegedly ran a college counseling service and something called the Key Worldwide Foundation. Between roughly 2011 and 2018, wealthy parents paid Singer about $25 million in total to guarantee their children's admission to elite schools including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, The University of Southern California, The University of Texas, UCLA and Wake Forest."
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5. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Lelling, United States Attorney:
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"Today we have charged 33 parents nationwide with hiring Singer's group to defraud testing companies and or various universities. These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege. They include, for example, CEOs of private and public companies, successful securities and real estate investors, two well-known actresses, a famous fashion designer and the co-chairman of a global law firm."
Los Angeles - September 17, 2018
6. Composite STILL images showing Actress Lori Loughlin (LEFT) and actress Felicity Huffman (RIGHT), who are among the dozens of people charged in the college admissions scam
Boston - March 12, 2019
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Andrew Lelling, United States Attorney:
"The parents charged today, despite already being able to give their children every legitimate advantage in the college admissions game, instead chose to corrupt and illegally manipulate the system for their benefit."
Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said.
Authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.
"These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in announcing the $25 million bribery case against 50 people in all.
The scandal is certain to inflame longstanding complaints that children of the wealthy and well-connected have the inside track in college admissions _ sometimes through big, timely donations from their parents _ and that privilege begets privilege.
At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, many of them prominent in law, finance or business, were among those charged in the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. Dozens, including Huffman, were arrested by midday.
The coaches worked at such schools as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles.
A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.
Prosecutors said parents paid an admissions consultant from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes to boost their children's chances of getting into schools.
Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.
Among the parents charged were Gordon Caplan of Greenwich, Connecticut, a co-chairman of an international law firm based in New York; Jane Buckingham, CEO of a boutique marketing company in Los Angeles; Gregory Abbott of New York, founder and chairman of a packaging company; and Manuel Henriquez, CEO of a finance company based in Palo Alto, California.
The bribes allegedly came through an admissions consulting company in Newport Beach, California.
Authorities said parents paid William Singer, the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, approximately $25 million to get their children into college.
Prosecutors said Singer was scheduled to plead guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy.
John Vandemoer, the former head sailing coach at Stanford, was also expected to plead guilty Tuesday.
Colleges moved quickly to discipline the coaches accused of involvement.
Stanford fired John Vandemoer, UCLA suspended its soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach.
Several schools, including USC and Yale, said they were victims themselves of the scam. USC also said it is reviewing its admissions process to prevent further such abuses.