13 Parents Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal, Others Face Additional Charges, Colleges Taking Action
This week, thirteen parents involved in what is being called the biggest college admissions scandal in U.S. history, including actress Felicity Huffman, and one coach will plead guilty to using bribery and other forms of fraud to cheat the college admissions process.
Huffman faces up to 20 years in prison, but in exchange for her plea, federal prosecutors have said they will recommend a sentence at the "low end" of the range. In a recent statement, Huffman expressed remorse stating, “I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions."
Today, federal prosecutors introduced a superseding indictment, handed down by a grand jury in Boston, charging 16 other parents in the college admissions case, including Actress Lori Loughlin, with money laundering. The new money laundering charge comes as a result of allegations that parents funneled payments through a purported charity and for-profit corporation, and transferred money from outside of the U.S. into the country. With one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in addition to the previous count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, each defendant faces a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least $250,000.
The colleges involved
As expected, colleges involved in the scandal have begun to take action against students who were found to have gained admission as a part of the cheating. In early April, Stanford University acknowledged that it has kicked out a student whose application allegedly contained false information. The student involved was admitted after fabricating sailing credentials in her application, but was accepted to the university through the normal application process and not as a recruited athlete. Records, however, show that the student’s admission was followed by a $500,000 contribution to Stanford’s sailing program through the former head coach, John Vandemoer, who was fired after pleading guilty to accepting bribes as part of the con.
The expulsion of the student by Stanford officials comes after Yale University took similar action. In late March, Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy announced that the university had rescinded the admission of one student as a result of the scandal. Former Yale women’s soccer coach, Rudy Meredith, was charged with taking a $400,000 bribe to accept an applicant who did not play soccer, according to the federal investigation into the bribery scheme. In an update to past policies, Stanford announced that each varsity athletic recruit proposed by a Stanford coach for an “athletic recommendation” will now undergo a background check from a Stanford Athletics executive for “a second, higher-level verification of the athletic credentials of recruited student-athletes.”
The University of Southern California has said it will deny admission to the six students in the current application cycle allegedly involved in the scheme. While USC continues to conduct an internal investigation, school officials announced that any student who may be involved in the college admissions scandal, has been placed on academic hold and are currently not permitted to enroll in classes or obtain a transcript. Following these case-by-case reviews, we will take the proper action related to each student’s status, up to revoking admission or expulsion,” a statement released by the university on Twitter stated.