Actresses charged in college admissions cheating scheme

5:06 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

USC fires athletic director and water polo coach after college cheating scam

The University of Southern California said it has fired its senior associate athletic director and water polo coach following today's charges in the college admissions scheme.

Donna Heinel, USC’s senior associate athletic director, and water polo coach Jovan Vavic were charged in connection with the cheating scandal.

In a statement, USC said it is also conducting an internal investigation.

Read USC's full statement:

We are aware of the ongoing wide-ranging criminal investigation involving universities nationwide, including USC. USC has not been accused of any wrongdoing and will continue to cooperate fully with the government’s investigation.
We understand that the government believes that illegal activity was carried out by individuals who went to great lengths to conceal their actions from the university. USC is conducting an internal investigation. Donna Heinel and Jovan Vavic have been terminated and the university will take additional employment actions as appropriate.
USC is in the process of identifying any funds received by the university in connection with this alleged scheme. Additionally, the university is reviewing its admissions processes broadly to ensure that such actions do not occur going forward.
4:47 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Former Stanford head sailing coach pleads guilty to racketeering conspiracy

Stanford University sailing coach John Vandemoer arrives at Boston federal court for an arraignment on March 12, 2019.

Stanford University sailing coach John Vandemoer arrives at Boston federal court for an arraignment on March 12, 2019.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Former Stanford University head sailing coach John Vandemoer pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in Boston federal court today related to an alleged conspiracy to get students into top colleges. 

Vandemoer said in court that he didn’t pocket money that he was given. Instead, he said he used the money to buy new materials for the Stanford sailing team.

The judge recommended half of the sentencing guidelines and a sentencing hearing has been set for June. 

Vandemoer was released on his own recognizance and didn’t make any remarks to reporters when he left court.

Stanford announced earlier today that they fired Vandemoer.

4:29 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

College Board: SAT cheats will be held accountable — no matter their income or status

The College Board — the non-profit group that administers the SAT — just sent out a statement on the college admissions charges.

“Today’s arrests resulting from an investigation conducted by the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts send a clear message that those who facilitate cheating on the SAT — regardless of their income or status — will be held accountable," Jerome White, the board's director of media relations and external communications, said in the statement emailed to CNN.

It added:

"The College Board has a comprehensive, robust approach to combat cheating, and we work closely with law enforcement as part of those efforts. We will always take all necessary steps to ensure a level playing field for the overwhelming majority of test takers who are honest and play by the rules."
4:27 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

William Singer feels "remorseful" and "is excited to cooperate" with government, his attorney says

William Rick Singer’s attorney Donald H. Heller told reporters his client is "very remorseful" about the scheme and plans to cooperate with the government.  

“He is excited to cooperate because he wanted to get this matter behind him," Heller said. “Information is very detailed and I’m sure there are more things coming out."

Heller went on to say that Singer "feels relieved that this part is over.”

4:20 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Man behind college scheme: "I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in"

William Singer walks out of federal court.

William Singer walks out of federal court.


William Rick Singer appeared in court today after he agreed to plead guilty in a college admission scheme that he operated.

After Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen outlined the charges against Singer, he admitted, “Everything Mr. Rosen said is true.”

“All of these things, and many more things, I did,” Singer said. “I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in.”

He went on to say that he bribed coaches, an act he said occurred "very frequently."

Singer's charity account, which contains $5.2 million, was seized, according to prosecutors in court. His brother was expected to post his $500,000 bond.

Singer was later seen walking out of federal court.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 19.

3:02 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Man at center of the scam pleads guilty and faces a maximum of 65 years in prison

William Rick Singer, the man who owned and operated Edge College and Career Network LLC (“The Key”) at the center of the collegiate scheme, has pleaded guilty to four charges:

  1. Racketeering conspiracy
  2. Money laundering
  3. Tax conspiracy
  4. Obstruction of Justice

Singer faces:

  • A maximum of 65 years in prison
  • Three years of supervised release
  • $1.25m dollar fine
  • $400 special assessment

He is appearing before Judge Rya Zobel in a Massachusetts federal court.

3:00 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Actress Lori Loughlin will surrender in L.A. this afternoon

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Actress Lori Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on "Full House," is on a flight to Los Angeles, where she is expected to surrender at the Central District Court later this afternoon, according to a law enforcement source.

Loughlin is facing a felony charge – conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud – for her alleged involvement in the college admissions scheme known as “Operation Varsity Blues."