Several celebrities are under fire after they bribed their children's way into college. Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the 50 people who are being charged, reported ABC.
This is the largest college admissions scam every prosecuted in the United States. The scam has been dubbed "Varsity Blues," and it involves 33 parents.
US Attorney Andrew Lelling called it a "catalog of wealth and privilege." The parents paid a collective $25 million to a college counselor named William Singer, who would bribe college officials, coaches, and college merit exam administrators.
Singer has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in an investigation into what Lelling called the "widening corruption of elite college admissions." Singer helped students get into colleges"not on their merits but through fraud," Lelling said.
Officials say 13 people were arrested by the FBI in Los Angeles, including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. They are in custody.
The crime took various forms including having the students take the SAT individually with a proctor he had bribed or bribed a coach to recruit athletes who didn't even play those sports.
"In one instance highlighted by federal prosecutors, it is alleged that the head women's soccer coach at Yale was paid $400,000 to accept a student even though the applicant did not play soccer. The parents of that student had allegedly paid Singer $1.2 million," according to the report.
"Today's arrest should be a warning to others," the FBI's Joseph Bonavolonta said. "You can't pay to play. You can't cheat to get ahead, because you will get caught."
The scam also included Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern University. In most cases, prosecutors ruled that the students weren't aware of how they got into college.
According to court documents, Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, "made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000...to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter. Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so."
Likewise, Loughlin and her husband "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."
Both were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud