Culture&Arts

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman among dozens charged over United States college bribery scheme

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman among dozens charged over United States college bribery scheme

The mastermind of the scheme, William "Rick" Singer, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Her husband, actor William H Macy, paid bail and she was released from custody.

Actress Felicity Huffman has been forced to hand over her passport to authorities following her indictment for her alleged role in an elite college bribery scheme. In an open letter, Mamet said: "That a parent's zeal for her children's future may have overcome her better judgment for a moment is not only unfortunate, it is, I know we parents would agree, a universal phenomenon".

The scheme centred on the owner of a for-profit Newport Beach college admissions company that wealthy parents paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, according to court records. Former Pimco Chief Executive Douglas Hodge is due to be arraigned in federal court in Boston, officials said.

The two are among 50 people charged for taking part in the largest such scam in US history, which the scheme's mastermind said in court documents steered some 800 students into elite universities including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford by cheating the admissions process.

Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes and fabricating photos showing their daughter as a competitive crew rower, in order to get her admission to the University of Southern California (USC).

Dozens, including Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of ABC Studio's Desperate Housewives, were arrested by midday on Tuesday.

More news: Latavius Murray to sign with Saints | Could Eagles now get Mark Ingram?

Loughlin surrendered to authorities on Wednesday after returning to Los Angeles from Vancouver, British Columbia, where she is shooting the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart.

Loughlin is now filming a TV movie in B.C. for Hallmark Channel, where she has been a mainstay since 2013.

Prosecutors said it was up to the universities to decide what to do with students admitted through cheating.

Several defendants, including Huffman, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The colleges themselves are not targets, the prosecutor said.

"I was essentially buying or bribing the coaches for a spot", Singer said as he pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. A former Yale soccer coach had pleaded guilty before the documents went public and helped build the case against others.


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