More than 40 people, including Oscar-nominated actor Felicity Huffman and Fuller House star Lori Loughlin, have been charged with fraud for their alleged involvement in a massive college admissions scheme, per court documents that were unsealed on Tuesday. Huffman has been arrested, Deadline Hollywood confirmed. Despite reports that Loughlin was also arrested, it now appears that she is not yet in custody. If convicted, they could each face five years in prison.
Those involved in the scheme allegedly tried to get students to gain admission to top-tier colleges and universities by paying bribes up to $6 million, getting students to be admitted as recruited athletes under false pretenses and helping them cheat on entrance exams, Andrew Lelling, the U.S. District Attorney for the state of Massachusetts, said in a press conference.
Thirty-three parents and nine Division I college athletics coaches, including the head sailing coach for Stanford and the former women’s soccer coach at Yale, are facing charges. Some of the colleges and universities implicated in the scheme include Yale, Stanford, UCLA and the University of Southern California, officials said.
“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud,” Lelling said during the press conference. “There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy, and there will not be a separate criminal justice system, either.”
According to Lelling, the operation was allegedly run by William Singer, who is expected to plead guilty later this afternoon to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. Singer allegedly paid off college athletics coaches to establish fake profiles for prospective students, in some cases pulling stock photos of athletes from the internet and photoshopping the face of the applicant onto the image. He also allegedly took thousands of dollars from parents to pay off SAT and ACT exam administrators to correct the student’s answers on the test.
Between 2011 and 2018, parents allegedly paid Singer nearly $25 million total. Most of the payments were funneled through a sham charity set up by Singer.
According to court documents, Loughlin and her husband, designer and Mossimo clothing company owner 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 crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
Huffman is alleged to have paid $15,000 so her daughter would have extra time on the SATs, as well as a proctor to correct her answers for her.
Both Loughlin and Huffman have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.
“We’re not talking about donating a building so a school is more likely to taker your son or daughter,” said Lelling during the press conference. “We’re talking about deception and fraud.”
A rep for Loughlin told rolling stone that she has “no information at this time to share.” A rep for Huffman did not respond to a request for comment.t.
You can read the complaint in full below.
This story is developing.