WASHINGTON: Nearly 50 people including two Hollywood actresses, college administrators, and sports coaches have been taken into custody by authorities following a stunning college admissions scam that rocked the United States on Tuesday.
In what is being described as the largest academic scandal ever prosecuted by the US Department of Justice, more than 300 FBIand IRS agents participated in an operation dubbed “Varsity Blues” that resulted in the arrests on charges of bribery and corruption of intermediaries and parents who bought admissions to their children in elite schools such as Stanford, Yale, and Georgetown universities.
Among those named in the scandal are actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.
While the rich buying their children admissions in elite schools is not exactly news in the US (President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have been scrutinized and pilloried over their passage to Wharton and Harvard respectively), what is different in this case is the cheating, bribery, and falsification involved.
“We’re not talking about donating a building so that a school’s more likely to take you son or daughter. We’re talking about deception and fraud,” FBI officials who were briefing the media in Boston at the time of writing this said, outlining a scheme where parents went to the extent of paying proxies to write tests on behalf of their wards.
Also charged are several college athletic coaches and SAT/ACT administrators who faked qualifications and marks for children of wealthy families so they could walk into elite schools. In all, the suspects allegedly paid bribes of up to $25 million to get their kids into top-ranked colleges.