Felicity Huffman surrenders passport following court appearance in alleged college bribery scheme

13 March, 2019, 16:59 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • University of Texas Longhorn in Burnt Orange

"Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman and former "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin were among the 46 people charged in the $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme on Tuesday.

US Federal Authorities reportedly called this certain case the biggest college admissions scandal ever prosecuted by the US Justice Department, with the celebrity parents accused of paying almost $25 million in bribes.

Singer allegedly helped parents "take staged photographs of their children engaged in particular sports", and in other instances used stock photos by "sometimes Photoshopping the face of the child on the athlete, and submitting it".

Some of the most prestigious and exclusive higher-education facilities in America, including Stanford University, Yale University, and UCLA, were allegedly targeted by the scheme.

William "Rick" Singer, 58, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges related to running the scheme through his Edge College & Career Network, which charged from 100,000 US dollars to as much as 2.5 million USA dollars per child for the services, which were masked as contributions to a scam charity Singer runs.

"There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and I will add there will not be a separate criminal justice system either", Lelling said at the press conference Tuesday. Charges faced by those prosecuted include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.

The actress, who is married to William H. Macy, is expected to appear in a Boston court on March 29 for a preliminary hearing into the case. The witness told the couple that he controlled a test center, and he could arrange for a third party member to adjust her test answers after completion.

Fuller House star Lori Loughlin is among the defendants.

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Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and some as much as $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission, officials said.

Authorities have not said why Macy, who has starred for the last several years in the Showtime series "Shameless" and was an Oscar nominee for the 1996 movie "Fargo", has not been charged.

"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud", Lelling said Tuesday. Messages seeking comment from Huffman's representatives were not immediately returned. Prosecutors in Boston in recent years have also charged Chinese nationals with cheating on entrance exams, while the College Board, which administers the SAT tests, was rocked in 2016 by a security breach that exposed hundreds of questions planned for tests.

Prosecutors said it was up to the universities to decide what to do with students admitted through cheating.

When it came to getting their younger daughter, Georgia Grace Macy, 16, into a good college, the pair once again allegedly turned to Singer's scam for help. The former Desperate Housewives star looked extremely exhausted as she walked by a number of paparazzi waiting to take her picture. Loughlin, 54, has not yet been arrested but her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was released after posting a $1 million bond.

In most cases, the students did not know their admission to the schools was contingent on a bribe. College coaches were also allegedly bribed to label applicants as athletic recruits.

Authorities said coaches in such sports as soccer, tennis and volleyball accepted bribes to put students on lists of recruited athletes, regardless of their ability or experience.

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