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Fifty people, including coaches at prestigious colleges and Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, face charges as part of a large-scale college admissions bribery scheme unveiled earlier this week by prosecutors in Boston.
Documents unsealed Tuesday in federal court showed coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown and the University of Southern California were charged as part of the scheme, in which coaches were bribed to admit students as athletes regardless of their ability, according to The Associated Press.
Update 12 p.m. EDT March 15: A California school teacher filed a $500 billion suit Thursday against Huffman, Loughlin and others involved in the college admissions bribery scandal, The Hill reported. Jennifer Kay Toy said her son, Joshua, failed to get into several of the schools involved in the scandal.
“Joshua and I believed that he’d had a fair chance just like all the other applicants but did not make the cut for some undisclosed reason,” Toy said in the fraud class action suit, filed in San Francisco, according to The Hill. “I’m outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college not because he failed to work and study hard enough but because wealthy individuals felt that it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college.”
The lawsuit is one of at least two filed since authorities in Boston revealed the scheme Tuesday while announcing charges against 50 people involved in the scandal. Two Stanford University students have also sued, claiming they were denied a fair chance at admission to the universities targeted by the scheme.
Update 3:40 p.m. EDT March 14: Hallmark said it is ending its relationship with actress Lori Loughlin in the wake of the wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal, according to The Associated Press.
Loughlin has been a longtime star of the Hallmark Channel and a major part of the network’s Christmas movies.
She has also starred in the network’s “Garage Sale Mysteries” movies and its “When Calls the Heart” series.
The network told the AP it was “saddened” by Loughlin’s alleged involvement in the cheating scam.
Hallmark Cards Inc. also said it is cutting ties with the actress and is “no longer working with Loughlin and has stopped development of all productions involving her,” according to the AP.
Lori Loughlin is one of the Hallmark Channel's "Christmas Queens," which presents a problem for the family-friendly cable channel now that she's been charged in connection with a college bribery scheme. https://t.co/ofs7WW72MP— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) March 14, 2019
Cosmetics retailer Sephora also announced Thursday it is ending a makeup partnership with Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, Time reported.
Loughlin and husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were charged with paying $500,000 in bribes to get Olivia Jade and her older sister into USC as part of the crew team.
Update 11 a.m. EDT March 14: Two Stanford University students filed suit Wednesday against schools embroiled in the college admissions bribery scheme, including USC, Yale University and the University of California Los Angeles, claiming they were denied a fair chance at admission, Bloomberg News reported.
In a complaint filed in federal court, attorneys for Erica Olson and Kalea Woods argued that through the scheme, “unqualified students found their way into the admission rolls of highly selective universities, while those students who played by the rules and did not have college-bribing parents were denied admission.”
The suit is seeking class certification to include all individuals who paid to apply to the university embroiled in the scheme and who had their applications rejected.
“Each of the universities took the students’ admission application fees while failing to take adequate steps to ensure that their admissions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheating and dishonesty,” the lawsuit claims.
Authorities continue to investigate the scheme.
Update 6:50 p.m. EDT March 13: Actress Lori Loughlin was released on a $1 million bond Wednesday afternoon after using her house as collateral, according to media outlets covering the proceedings in Los Angeles federal court.
Loughlin’s husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, also used a house as collateral to make bond during his hearing on Tuesday, according to the San Gabriel Tribune.
It’s unclear if the couple used the same home or different ones.
BREAKING: Lori Loughlin was released on $1 million bond. Judge permitted her to travel to British Columbia, where she has filiming projects in Vancouver. Loughlin is on contract to film projects until November. She must surrender her U.S. passport in December.— Jonah Valdez (@Jonahmv) March 13, 2019
Loughlin was also allowed to travel to British Columbia for film projects in Vancouver that run through November, the Tribune reported.
She was ordered to surrender her U.S. passport in December.
The newspaper also reported that the judge banned any communication with witnesses and other defendants in the case, but made an exception for Loughlin’s daughters, who could be called as witnesses, and her husband, who is also a defendant.
Update 6:30 p.m. EDT March 13: A Los Angeles judge ruled actress Lori Loughlin is free to leave jail on a $1 million bond, according to the Associated Press.
Loughlin is among 50 people, including stars, coaches and executives, caught in a college admission bribery scandal.
She turned herself into authorities Wednesday morning and made a court appearance in the afternoon.
Judge says "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin can be released after posting $1 million bond in college bribery case. https://t.co/VHfpZkOB4C— The Associated Press (@AP) March 13, 2019
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT March 13: Loughlin turned herself in to authorities in Los Angeles on Wednesday, one day after she was charged as part of a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme, according to The Associated Press.
She is scheduled to appear for a hearing in federal court at 2 p.m. PDT, CBS News reported.
Actress Lori Loughlin is in the custody of federal law enforcement authorities. She was taken into custody by the FBI in Los Angeles this morning. She will be booked and processed and is expected to be in federal court at 2pm today. per @CBSNews Pat Milton— Mosheh Oinounou (@Mosheh) March 13, 2019
Update 7:55 p.m. EDT March 12: Actress Felicity Huffman has been released on a $250,000 bond in connection with charges related to the college admissions cheating scandal, according to The Associated Press.
Huffman, whose husband, actor William H. Macy was by her side, appeared before a judge at the Los Angeles Courthouse Monday afternoon and was repeatedly heard answering “yes” to the judge’s questions, according to KCBS-TV.
BREAKING: dramatic moments as Felicity Huffman appeared before a judge in connection with the college cheating scandal. She said “yes” repeatedly to judge’s questions about whether she understood charges and bond conditions. Husband William H. Macy was there as well @CBSLA— Tom (T.J.) Wait (@CBSLATom) March 12, 2019
Update 3:35 p.m. EDT March 12: William “Rick” Singer, the California businessman who founded the admissions consulting company at the center of the alleged college entrance bribery scheme, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Authorities said Singer schemed with parents, coaches and others to pay students' way into schools like Yale, Georgetown and Stanford University.
Prosecutors say parents paid Singer about $25 million to bribe coaches and administrators into pretending that their children were athletic recruits to guarantee their admission.
Update 2:25 p.m. EDT March 12: The NCAA is investigating after authorities announced charges Tuesday against 50 people accused of taking part in a college admissions bribery scheme.
The group said in a statement Tuesday that the charges made public Tuesday “are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education.”
NCAA statement on college admissions investigation:— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) March 12, 2019
"The charges brought forth today are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education. We are looking into these allegations to determine the extent to which NCAA rules may have been violated."
“We are looking into these allegations to determine the extent to which NCAA rules may have been violated,” the statement said.
Most NCAA rules that regulate recruiting are aimed at preventing schools and coaches from giving improper benefits and enticements to athletes. In this case, parents were paying coaches to help students gain entry to college by falsifying athletic credentials and claiming that the students were being recruited to plays sports.
Update 1:15 p.m. EDT March 12: U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference Tuesday that the $25 million federal bribery case is the biggest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” he said.
At least nine athletic coaches and dozens of parents were among those charged in an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, federal authorities said.
Prosecutors said parents paid an admissions consultant from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes to boost their children’s chances of getting into schools.
Parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said.
“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” Lelling said.
Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 12: Authorities said Huffman was arrested early Tuesday in Los Angeles without incident, NBC News reported, citing unidentified officials.
UPDATE: Actress Felicity Huffman is in Federal custody after being arrested at her home without incident. There is an arrest warrant out for actress Lori Loughlin, who was NOT in Los Angeles this morning when Federal agents went to her home per officials familiar.— Andrew Blankstein (@anblanx) March 12, 2019
The New York Daily News reported that Huffman was expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 12: In a letter sent Tuesday to students, USC President Wanda Austin said the university had “no reason to believe that Admissions employees or senior administrators were aware of the scheme or took part in any wrongdoing.” A long-time employee of the school’s athletic department, a current coach and three former coaching staff were involved in the scheme, according to authorities.
“The government has repeatedly informed us that it views USC as a victim and that these employees purposefully deceived USC,” Austin said.
Original report: Authorities indicted Rudolph "Rudy" Meredith, the former head coach of Yale University's women's soccer team, on two counts of wire fraud for allegedly taking bribes to admit students to the school as recruited athletes.
According to an indictment, authorities believe Meredith worked with William Rick Singer, a California businessman, and others to retain clients willing to bribe university coaches and administrators to admit their children to prestigious universities.
The indictment alleges Singer and Meredith concealed the payments by funneling them through Singer's charitable accounts.
Meredith served as the head coach of the Yale women's soccer team from 1995 to November 2018.
Arrest warrants have been issued for about 40 people involved in the college admissions scam, including renowned celebrities and influential business owners.
Authorities on Tuesday released a list of the people charged:
See the court documents unsealed Tuesday:
'Operation Varsity Blue... by on Scribd
'Operation Varsity Blue... by on Scribd
'Operation Varsity Blue... by on Scribd
'Operation Varsity Blue... by on Scribd
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Check back for updates to this developing story.
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