“OPERATION VARSITY BLUES”

On Tuesday, the Justice Department charged 50 people across 6 states – including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin – as part of a multi-million-dollar scheme to get academically mediocre kids admitted to impossible-to-get-into universities like Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and others. The alleged ringleader of this operation is a 58-year old college prep expert named William “Rick” Singer.  He eagerly took bribe money (over $25 million, funneled through a phony nonprofit) from well-heeled, but desperate parents. And he bucked the system essentially one of two ways: by collaborating w/SAT/ACT administrators to manipulate test scores or by using his connections w/college coaches to position non-athletes as athletes (This is where Loughlin and her husband got into trouble – allegedly paying $500,000 to have their two non-rowing daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team?!?!). Singer pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. No schools have been charged, no one knows what’s going to happen to the parents (though some attorneys are expecting jail time for the actresses, if only to send a message), and as for the students? Authorities say they were likely unaware that this was happening.

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