The national scandal surrounding actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin & more wealthy individuals now has a name: Operation Varsity Blues. Here’s what you should know about the college admissions scheme more than 50 people had a hand in.
Lori Loughlin, 54, along with actress Felicity Huffman, 56, and about 50 others were arrested on March 12 for their involvement in a college admissions bribery and cheating scandal. The motive? To secure a spot for their children at elite universities throughout the U.S. During a press conference on the same day the news broke, authorities shared the name of the investigation: Operation Varsity Blues. While details are still emerging, here’s what we know so far about the case.
1. The scheme was aimed at helping affluent families secure their children a spot at elite colleges across the U.S. These universities included but were not limited to University of Southern California, the University of Texas, Yale University, Stanford University, Georgetown, and UCLA.
2. It’s not just celebrities facing charges. More than 50 people in total were involved in the fraud including college coaches, CEOs and executives. John Vandemoer, the head sailing coach at Stanford is among those facing charges. Rudy Meredith, formerly a women’s soccer coach at Yale, was charged with racketeering and honest services fraud.
3. These parents were willing to shell out some major money. The parents paid bribes of up to $6 millions dollars. Felicity Huffman is said to have “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 legal documents HollywoodLife obtained.
4. There’s one man at the forefront of the national scandal. William “Rick” Singer – the man who owned and operated Edge College and Career Network LLC is at the center of the scheme, and is expected to plead guilty to the charges against him. William also authored a book entitled: Getting In: Gaining Admission to your College of Choice. Parents reportedly paid William more than $25 million in total towards his fraudulent charity, Edge College & Career Network.
5. What will happen to the students? US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling District of Massachusetts answered questions during a March 12 press conference, but made it clear that there none of the students involved are facing charges at this time. “As to charges against them, we’re still considering that. It’s not an accident that there are no students charged in these charging documents. The parents, the other defendants, are clearly the prime movers of this fraud, it remains to be seen whether we charge any of the students,” he said. Prosecutors say the schools in general, were not aware of the plot.