Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 50 people, including CEOs and executives, arrested in a college admissions cheating scandal, according to multiple reports on March 12, which cite unsealed legal documents in Boston.
UPDATE #2: Felicity was released on $250K bail on Tuesday afternoon, March 12, according to HollywoodLife‘s sister site Deadline. She didn’t need to enter a plea today, but she did have to hand over her passport before leaving the court. She is next expected in appear in Boston court March 29 for a preliminary hearing.
UPDATE #1: TMZ now claims Felicity was arrested by seven FBI agents with their guns drawn at her Hollywood Hills home at 6AM on Tuesday morning, March 12. The new report also claims Felicity knew the arrest was coming and would have gladly surrendered on her own, but clearly, the FBI had a different idea in mind.
ORIGINAL: Hollywood stars including, Felicity Huffman, 56, and Lori Loughlin, 54, are among 50 others, including college coaches, CEOs and executives, who were charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scam, according to court records unsealed in Boston federal court on Tuesday, March 12, that HollywoodLife.com has obtain. The documents allege that the accused attempted to enroll students into high-profile D-1 schools, including Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, University of Texas, University of San Diego, University of Southern California and Wake Forest as recruited athletes, despite some students never playing the sport related with their name. During a press conference later that day, authorities shared the name of the investigation: Operation Varsity Blues.
“Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants — principally individuals whose high-school age children were applying to college — conspired with others to use bribery 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, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California — Los Angeles,” the indictment said.
Those who were indicted allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into elite colleges, the news outlet reports. Felicity Huffman “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 … to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,” according to the 200-page legal documents. The documents include transcribed phone conversations between Felicity and one of the ‘cooperating witnesses’, who participated the scheme. In their correspondence, Felicity discussed arrangements for her eldest daughter, Sofia, to take the SATs at a controlled center where someone would review and correct the answers on her test , after she was approved for 100 percent extended time. During one documented email exchange, Felicity shares concern that she won’t be able to have Sofia at the right testing center, allegedly writing: ‘Ruh Ro! Looks like[my daughter’s high school] wants to provide own proctor.” Meanwhile, Felicity’s husband, William H. Macy is not listed as one of the charged in the criminal complaint, despite allegedly being present during meetings to coordinate the cheating, as well as overheard on phone conversations.
Lori Loughlin attends The Women’s Cancer Research Fund ‘Unforgettable Evening’ event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, CA on February 28, 2019. She is pictured with her daughters, Olivia (left) and Isabella (right). (Photo credit: Broadimage/Shutterstock)
Felicity Huffman and husband William H. Macy with daughters, Sofia and Georgia at the premiere of Rudderless in Los Angeles, CA in October, 2014. (Photo credit: Rob Latour/Shutterstock)
As for Lori Loughlin, the Fuller House actress 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 crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” the court papers state. Loughlin and Giannulli share two daughters together, Olivia, 19, and Isabella, 20.
Federal authorities had three cooperating witnesses, the documents state. — One of which is a founder of the California based non-profit Key Worldwide Foundation. Another worked as the director of college exam prep at a prep school and sports academy in Bradenton, Florida, according to the court papers. William “Rick” Singer, who operated Edge College and Career Network LLC, has been accused of running the illegal operation and for reportedly accepting up to $25 million in payments from parents.
Federal agents secretly recorded telephone calls with Huffman and a cooperating witness, the court papers stated. Agents also obtained emails from Loughlin, implicating her in the scam.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston will hold a press conference at 8:30 AM PT about the case.
HollywoodLife has reached out to a representative for both Loughlin and Huffman, and did not receive an immediate response for Huffman. However, a representative for Loughlin did get back to us with the following statement: “Thank you for your inquiry. I don’t have any information to share at this time.”
This story is still developing. Please check back with HollywoodLife for timely updates.