Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and at least 42 others are being charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents.
The alleged scheme’s goal was to get students admitted into elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities. It also purportedly helped potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment unsealed in Boston.
Loughlin, best known for her role as Rebecca in the sitcom “Full House,” and Huffman, who starred in the ABC hit show “Desperate Housewives,” are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.
Phone calls involving the two celebs and a cooperating witness were recorded by the FBI, according to the criminal complaint. The scheme involved students who attended or desired to attend Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale, according to federal prosecutors.
Currently, there are no indications that these schools were involved in any wrong-doing. 44 people total, including some college coaches, have been charged so far. According to prosecutors, the mastermind behind the plot was William Rick Singer, the founder of a for-profit college preparation business.
Singer was being paid between $15,000 and $75,000 per test for someone else to take the SAT or ACT exams in place of someone desiring to enter. Singer facilitated the cheating by advising students to seek “extended time on the exams, including by having their children purport to have learning disabilities in order to obtain medical documentation that ACT,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors report that Signer used this cash to bribe to people who administered the exams – Igor Dvorsiky, of Los Angeles, and Lisa “Niki” Williams, of Houston. After receiving the payments, Dvorsiky and Williams allowed a Florida man hired by Singer to secretly take the tests or to even replace the student’s answers with his own, per the indictment.
Singer was paid nearly $25 million from 2011 to February 2019 to bribe coaches and university administrators to “designate their children as recruited athletes, or other favored admissions categories,” according to the court papers.