Vast College-Entrance Bribery Scandal



Posted by Ed 5 mths 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 5 mths 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 5 mths ago
Here, the main cooperating witness (CW-1) explains how the “side door” scheme works:

Ed 5 mths 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 5 mths 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 5 mths 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 5 mths 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.

Ed 4 mths ago
And now it appears that some of the students whose parents paid bribes to get them into top universities... are also going be facing time in The Big House....

Yes... if they knew ... then they are complicit... and complicity brings criminal charges....

Ed 4 mths ago
Hmmm.... I have a thought.... (as I reach for my shiny tin hat....)....

If parents are willing to go through all these hoops .... like pasting photos of their pathetic children onto photos of athletic bodies ... paying massive bribes.... and getting them soccer scholarships... all quite a troublesome ... and risk-fraught process...

And... and.... there are dirtbag coaches and administrators in these 'top schools' willing to whore their standards and ethics... for money....

Then.... does it not make you wonder.... if this goes far far deeper....

I raise the question .... because it needs to be raised... or just because nobody else has considered it....

What about students who are studying at these prestigious institutions .... who gained entry legitimately.... whose parents are loaded and sleazy....

Apply for say med school or law school... or some other school that requires extremely high grades .... to even be considered.... that require the writing of LSAT or GMAT or some other difficult test.... and achieving a very high score.....

And they don't make the grade....

Surely it would be much easier for mummy... dear mummy.... to bribe the person who grades those tests?

Or better still ... let's say little Tabatha ... with her silver spoon ... happens to pass the test... and gets into law school.... but spends her time sunning at the beach and dancing at the disco house.... and neglects her studies.... and is not making the cut in a few classes because of this....

How difficult would it be to ..... pay a visit ... to the offending professors... and drop a hint of gifts of frankincense and myrrh oil.... or better still ... a envelope impregnated with USD100 bills???

Even college profs want to drive Porsches.... and live large.... so that fat envelope of 100's would no doubt be as tempting as the flash of an inviting glance from a pretty girl....

Ed 4 mths ago
Chinese Families Paid Massive Sums In College Admissions Scandal

While the people implicated in the "biggest college admissions scandal in history" have so far have been predominantly American - with photos of actresses like Lori Loughlin and ringleader William Rick Singer being plastered across the news - it turns out that the two families who shelled out the most money in the scandal were, not surprisingly, Chinese according to the Wall Street Journal.

One wealthy Chinese family paid an astounding $6.5 million to Singer, the scheme's mastermind, while a second family was found to have paid $1.2 million. The family involved in the $6.5 million payment has not yet been identified; the $1.2 million payment was in exchange for 21 year old Sherry Guo's admission to Yale University. Guo moved to Southern California from China to attend high school in the U.S.

Most of the other parents in the scandal paid between $250,000 to $400,000, making the huge sums out of China noteworthy to those investigating and following the scam. They are easily the largest sums reported thus far.

Ms. Guo had her eye on Columbia University or Oxford University but Singer insisted that she go to Yale, calling it a "sure thing".

Guo learned English after arriving in California about five years ago and attended JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., starting high school as an older student.

Ironically for the Yale "student", her lawyer is trying to tuck her behind the defense of ignorance. Guo was “so unfamiliar with how people apply to schools in the U.S., Rick Singer’s instructions to her didn’t seem as out of place as they would to a student who grew up in the United States and has more of an expectation of free choice,” her lawyer said.

Guo’s family was introduced to Singer by an LA-based financial adviser, who said that Guo's family told Singer they wanted to make a “donation” to “one of those top schools” for his daughter’s “application.”

Ed 4 mths ago
Hard work got me into Stanford University, says Chinese student in viral video after parents paid US$6.5 million to get her accepted

‘The admissions officers basically do not know who you are’, teenager says in 2017 video in which she also admits her ‘natural IQ isn’t particularly high’

Zhao Yusi is one of the students caught up in a US college admissions scandal; her family paid US$6.5 million to admit her to Stanford University

Ed 4 mths ago
So Rick Singer takes USD6.5M.... uses 500k to get her onto the sailing team on an athletic scholarship....

The pocketed 5.5M....

Ed 3 mths ago
Son Of Father Who Paid $400,000 For College Admission Bribe, Now Suing Georgetown

< Back to main category

Login now