Vast College-Entrance Bribery Scandal



Posted by Ed 9 days ago
Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.

“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in announcing the $25 million bribery case against 50 people in all.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were among those charged in the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues. Dozens, including Huffman, were arrested by midday.


Ed 9 days ago
Update 3/12/2019 1:46PM EST:

The complaint alleges that Ex-Pimco CEO Hodge “agreed to use bribery to facilitate the admission of two of his children to USC as purported athletic recruits” and, according to Bloomberg, he "sought to enlist the support of a cooperating witness to help a third child gain college admission". Hodge declined to comment to Bloomberg when reached on his mobile phone, reportedly only saying, “I can’t talk right now.”

Update 3/12/2019 1:14PM EST:

Ex-Pimco CEO Douglas Hodge was also named among those charged in the scheme. Hercules Capital also fell in intraday trading when it was revealed that its CEO and largest holder Manuel Henriquez was named in the DOJ affidavit.

Ed 9 days ago
Here, the main cooperating witness (CW-1) explains how the “side door” scheme works:

Ed 9 days ago
According to the indictment, Willkie Farr co-chair Gordon Caplan paid $75,000 to college coaches turned government cooperating witnesses for a scheme to have someone else take an admissions exam for his daughter.

As part of the scheme, Caplan’s daughter would have to get an accommodation for an untimed exam — though there is no indication Caplan’s daughter actually had a learning difference to justify it — and then a professional test taker would swoop in and take the exam, getting her the scores necessary to get into her dream schools.

In a recorded conversation, a cooperating witness explained to Caplan how the scheme worked:

So here’s the first thing we need to do.

And I think I mentioned this to your wife. We need to get your daughter tested for a learning difference. Here’s why. If she gets tested for a learning difference, and let’s say it’s my person that does it, or whoever you want to do it, I need that person to get her 100% extended time over multiple days. So what that means is, we’ll have to show that there’s some discrepancies in her learning, which there’s gotta be anyways.

And if she gets 100%, Gordon, then, I own two schools. I can have her test at one of my schools, and I can guarantee her a score. If it’s ACT, I can guarantee her a score in the, in the 30s. And if it’s the SAT, I can guarantee her a score in the 1400s. Now, all of a sudden, her test score does not become an issue with all the colleges.

Because she’s strong enough.

Then, if we clean up her transcript, then her ability, with her athletic ability and her testing and her getting better at school, it’s much easier to get her into school, because you’re not fighting huge obstacles at the types of schools you’re talking about.

Now, if we do that, there’s a financial consideration that you have to pay to the school to get it done, because this is absolutely unheard of, to make this happen. I can make scores happen, and nobody on the planet can get scores to happen.

She won’t even know that it happened. It will happen as though, she will think that she’s really super smart, and she got lucky on a test, and you got a score now. There’s lots of ways to do this. I can do anything and everything, if you guys are amenable to doing it.

So Caplan’s daughter wouldn’t even know the helping hand she got to get into college. As the cooperating witness went on to explain to Caplan:

Ed 8 days ago
Parents in College Admissions Scandal May See Steep Tax Fines

The parents involved in yesterday's widely reported college admissions scam could have even more bad news coming their way in the form of tax penalties and civil tax fraud charges, as the parents involved in the scheme were able to take tax deductions on purported "donations" that were doubling as bribes in order to get their children into elite colleges like Stanford and Yale.

Ed 7 days ago
Tipster Who Broke College Admissions Case Was Under Investigation for Securities Fraud

Morrie Tobin reportedly told the FBI about the scheme in order to get a reduced sentence for his role in a securities fraud case.

Ed 4 days ago
Meet The Harvard Test-Taking Genius At The Center Of The College Admissions Scandal

A 36-year-old Harvard university graduate implicated in the college admissions scandal is being described as a "test taking whiz who could get any score on demand" according to federal prosecutors. He has been revealed to be the "secret weapon" in the college admissions cheating scandal, according to a new Wall Street Journal article.

U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, said: “He did not have inside information about the correct answers. He was just smart enough to get a near-perfect score.” Prosecutors claim that Mark Riddell was central to the cheating scheme and he has agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud and money laundering, according to court documents.

He issued a statement after the charges, stating: “I understand how my actions contributed to a loss of trust in the college admissions process.”

Prosecutors have said that William Rick Singer's admissions scheme happened over 30 times as far back as 2011 and of the 33 parents that were implicated in the scheme, at least 16 are linked to Riddell. He was described in court documents as “Cooperating Witness 2.” In hopes of leniency, he has been helping with the investigation since February.

In one case, when Riddell had a baby, one test need to be scheduled at a later date because he couldn’t make it. He had used false ID to pose as a student and he took tests on students' behalf after asking for handwriting samples. He even took a test on one student's behalf when the teen had tonsillitis and couldn't meet him at the test site. He scored him a 35 out of a possible 36 on the ACT.

Riddell is an alumnus of a private Florida prep school and Harvard, where he studied biology and played tennis before graduating in 2004.

As a result of the scandal he was suspended indefinitely from his job - wait for it - as director of a college entrance exam preparation at his alma mater prep school.

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