Slew of CEOs and Hollywood Actors Among 40 People Charged With Paying Millions in Bribes to Get Their Children Into Elite Colleges

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin (AP; NBC)
Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin (AP; NBC)

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among at least 40 people charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

The alleged scheme focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment unsealed in Boston.

Authorities said the FBI investigation, code named Operation Varsity Blues, uncovered a network of wealthy parents who paid thousands of dollars to a California man who boosted their children’s chances of gaining entrance into elite colleges, such as Yale and Stanford, by paying people to take tests for their children, test administrators to allow it to happen, and college coaches and administrators to identify the applicants as athletes.

“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth, combined with fraud,” said U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling.

“There can be no separate college admission for wealthy, and I will add there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”

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SOURCE: Tom Winter, Pete Williams, Julia Ainsley and Rich Schapiro
NBC News