Hollywood actors, including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and a slew of chief executives are among 50 people charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam, according to court records unsealed in Boston Tuesday.
Those indicted allegedly paid bribes of up to $ 6 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.
"Beginning in or about 2011, and the defendants – principally individuals whose high school age children were applying to college – conspired with others to use bribes and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children's admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, University of Texas, University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California ̵
In most cases, the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe, officials said.
The 200 pages of billing documents in the case were unsealed in the Boston Federal Court.
According to the charging papers, Huffman "made a pretended charitable contribution of $ 15,000 … to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter."
"Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so," the documents allege.
Federal agents secretly recorded telephone calls with Huffman and a cooperative witness, according to court papers.
The documents say actress Lori Loughlin – best known for her role as Aunt Becky on ABC sitcom "Full House" – and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, "agreed to pay bribes totaling $ 500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team – despite the fact that they did not participate in the crew – thus facilitating their admission to USC. "
Federal agents received emails from Loughlin implicating her in the scam, according to the documents.
The federal authorities ultimately had three cooperating witnesses to help them build their case.
One of the cooperating witnesses is a founder of the non-profit Key Worldwide Foundation based in California and another worked as the director of the college exam at a prep school and sports academy in Bradenton, Florida, according to court papers.
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