Defendants with high school-aged children who were applying to college allegedly "conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission to colleges and universities" in MA and elsewhere including Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California and UCLA.
The scam, said prosecutors, arranged for children to be recruited as athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities.
The coaches worked at such schools as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles.
In all, 50 people were charged: 33 parents who paid to give their children undeserved entry into high-end college life; 13 university sports coaches and test organisation operators; and Singer and three others who operated the fraudulent scheme.
Huffman is accused of scheming with crooked college counselor William "Rick" Singer to illegally boost her daughter's SAT scores and secure her admission to college. In a conversation last June with a cooperating witness, he was told his daughter needed to "be stupid" when a psychologist evaluated her for learning disabilities that would entitle her to more time to take the test, according to court papers.
Huffman and Loughlin are among those charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She became a star on "Full House", a standout hit of ABC's family-friendly TGIF lineup in the early 1990s, and appeared on the recent Netflix reboot "Fuller House".
"Every year hundreds of thousands of hard-working, talented students strive for admission to elite schools", he said.More news: Oil prices rise amid broad market rally, OPEC supply cuts
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"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. Nine coaches, two ACT and SAT exam administrators, one proctor, and a college administrator were also charged.
Huffman is accused of making a fake charitable donation of $15,000 "to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter", according to prosecutors, who included transcripts of wiretapped conversations between Huffman and a witness in charging documents.
The charging documents, unsealed in Boston federal court, are more than 200 pages long. A former Yale soccer coach reportedly pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.
No students were charged.
"Singer worked with parents to fabricate impressive athletic profiles for their kids including fake athletic credentials or honors or fake participation in elite club themes", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
In many cases, the students were not aware that their parents had arranged for the cheating, prosecutors said, although in other cases they knowingly took part.
"What is going to happen when they see his application, he'll be flagged as an athlete", Singer told him in a phone conversation recorded by investigators.