Actresses charged in college admissions cheating scheme
US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling District of Massachusetts answered the following questions during the press conference earlier today.
What will happen to the students?
“It's not an accident that there are no students charged in these charging documents. The parents, the other defendants, are clearly the prime movers of this fraud, it remains to be seen whether we charge any of the students.”
How many students were able to make it into these schools over the years?
What were the different routes taken by the parents?
What kind of sentences will they serve?
Did the schools know?
More universities have released statements about today's arrests related to a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme. All three schools said they have a coach or former coach who has been named as a defendant in the case.
The U.S. Department of Justice today charged a number of people around the country in an alleged scheme in which payments were made to try to win the admission of prospective students to a number of U.S. colleges and universities. Stanford’s head sailing coach was among those charged in the case.
Stanford has been cooperating with the Department of Justice in its investigation and is deeply concerned by the allegations in this case. The university and its athletics programs have the highest expectations of integrity and ethical conduct. The head coach of the Stanford sailing team has been terminated.
The charges state that sailing head coach John Vandemoer accepted financial contributions to the sailing program from an intermediary in exchange for agreeing to recommend two prospective students for admission to Stanford. Neither student came to Stanford. However, the alleged behavior runs completely counter to Stanford’s values.
Based on the Department of Justice investigation to date, we have no evidence that the alleged conduct involves anyone else at Stanford or is associated with any other team. However, we will be undertaking an internal review to confirm that.
University of California, Los Angeles
The conduct alleged in the filings revealed today is deeply disturbing and in contrast with the expectations we have of our coaches to lead their teams with honesty and integrity. If the facts alleged are true, they represent a grave departure from the ethical standards we set for ourselves and the people who work here.
UCLA is not aware of any current student-athletes who are under suspicion. The University is cooperating with the Department of Justice and will conduct its own review to determine the proper steps to take to address this matter. —UCLA spokesperson Tod M. Tamberg released this joint statement from UCLA and UCLA Athletics
Celebrities are beginning to share reactions to the Justice Department's college admissions scam investigation.
Earlier today, prosecutors accused actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, as well as other parents, elite college coaches and college prep executives of carrying out a national conspiracy to get students into prestigious colleges.
Some celebrities took to Twitter to express their anger about the scheme and others talked about how they got into college the old fashioned way.
Here's what they said:
Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, actress Felicity Huffman and 11 others were arrested this morning in Los Angeles for their alleged involvement in “Operation Varsity Blues," according to FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller.
Huffman and Giannulli were arrested at their homes. The FBI served a warrant for actress Lori Loughlin — who is married to Giannulli — but she was not home at the time.
What we're watching: All 13 defendants will appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles after 5 p.m. ET today.
The NCAA has issued a statement following today's charges that alleged some coaches at the universities accepted bribes in exchange for students being admitted through the athletic route.
Here's what the NCAA said:
We're starting to see some of the colleges react to the news that members of their respective communities were involved in the massive admissions scam.
University of Texas spox J.B. Bird:
University of Southern California:
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 and will take 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.
Officials with the FBI and the Department of Justice, as well as the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, just detailed how the massive college admissions cheating scam worked.
A man named Rick Singer is at the center of it all, prosecutors alleged: He set up a non-profit, and parents came to his organization for help getting their kids into college.
From there, there were two routes Singer and parents would take, officials said:
- Test scores: Singer would have some retake students' SAT and ACT exams, changing answers to get a higher score. In some cases, parents and Singer would arrange for students to see a therapist, who could sign off on allowing more time for the exams.
- Athletics: Singer was in contact with coaches at the universities, and he arranged for students to be admitted through the athletic route — even faking pictures of the students as athletes.