College Admissions Scam: Here's What You Need to Know

College Admissions Scam

Hollywood actress Laurie Laughlin was fired from work, and her daughter lost her advertising contract with a cosmetics company after they found out the details of a college admissions scam that allowed wealthy Americans to take their children to prestigious universities for money.

Today it became known about the first lawsuits filed by students against universities and persons involved in probably the most high-profile college scam in the history of American higher education.

Students Start Filing Lawsuits Against Schools Involved in the Scandal

Crown Media Family Networks, the owner of the Hallmark cable television channel, has ceased working with actress Lori Laughlin, star of many television shows, due to her involvement in the college admission cheating scam. The company’s statement said they would stop filming all programs involving Laughlin.

The latest college scam update includes news about the Sephora cosmetics chain, owned by LVMH. It has announced the severance of an advertising partnership with Olivia Janulli, the 19-year-old daughter of Lori Laughlin, whose account was popular with social media users. The cosmetics produced in collaboration with Janulli disappeared from sale on the Sephora website on the afternoon of March 14th.

Not long after that, Lori Laughlin and her husband, the famous designer Mossimo Janulli, were charged with giving a bribe of $ 500 thousand for helping illegally bring Olivia and her sister Isabella to the University of Southern California. The couple was detained and later released from custody under two bail, each in the amount of one million dollars.

And what about some more college admissions scandal names? Another lawsuit was filed by Joshua Toy and his mother immediately against 45 people involved in the case. The defendants included William Singer, star of the television series Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman, spouses Lori Laughlin and Mossimo Janulli, and other participants in an educational scam. Joshua Toy was not accepted to college, despite an average score of 4.2 in his certificate. The plaintiffs demand compensation for the damage they suffered in the amount of 500 billion dollars.

What Has Happened?

The US Department of Justice announced the disclosure of the largest in its practice college admission scam. Using this scheme, wealthy parents - including actors and businessmen - guaranteed their children places in the best universities in the country for money. Charges were brought against 50 people, including 33 parents. The most famous of them are actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Laurie Laughlin (Full House). Defendants face up to 20 years in prison.

The organizer of the scheme was 58-year-old William Singer, the head of the university preparation company, as well as a charity through which customers paid him for services. Bribes were passed under the guise of donations.

"We are committed to helping the richest families in the United States and their children," Singer explained to the client in a telephone conversation.

What Was the College Scam About?

William Singer pleaded guilty and, as follows from the documents of the prosecution, testified against those with whom he worked and whom he helped. So, one of the types of Singer services was juggling the SAT and ACTs, which American colleges take into account when enrolling students.

This service costs parents from 15 to 75 thousand dollars. To begin with, on the advice of Singer, the children sought to postpone the exam on the pretext of learning difficulties, and then they chose one of the two schools (in Texas or California) because Singer was personally acquainted with the local administrators.

Another participant in the scheme on the day of the exam either gave the children correct answers, or corrected errors after the test, or handed it over for them. For each test, he received about 10 thousand dollars.

A Huge College Scandal Involved Many Celebrities

It was in this college admissions scandal that Felicity Huffman took part as well. At the end of 2017, Singer helped her eldest daughter get a good result in the SAT for 15 thousand dollars. According to the documents, her husband, actor and Oscar nominee William Macy also participated in the Huffman talks with Singer, but for unknown reasons, no charges were brought against him. The court in Los Angeles appointed Huffman a bail of 250 thousand dollars.

Singer also guaranteed admission by negotiating with coaches from universities. For bribes in the number of hundreds of thousands of dollars, they recruited children as athletes regardless of their real success in sports. Employees of Singer's organizations faked data on teenagers' sporting achievements, including photographs that allegedly depicted their sports activities. Sometimes staged pictures were taken by parents. The college scandal admissions scheme was complicated and thought-through.

In 2016-2017, Singer thus helped the daughters of actress Lori Laughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Janulli, do the same. The girls were taken to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team, although in reality, they did not engage in this sport. As evidence, Giannulli and Laughlin sent Singer photographs of their daughter's activities on a rowing machine. In total, the family transferred Singer 500 thousand dollars - the court-appointed a bail for one million dollars to Giannulli.

College Admission Scandal Was Criticized By the Publicity

The youngest daughter, Laughlin and Janulli Olivia, who runs a beauty blog on YouTube, was criticized in 2018 because of the words that she was not interested in studying. And in college, she is going to go primarily to parties and sports matches. After reproaches, including the fact that many young people in the USA cannot afford higher education, the girl apologized. When there was news about her participation in the fraudulent scheme, Olivia began to be insulted in social networks.

Among the universities that enrolled the children of Singer's clients were Yale and Stanford universities, the universities of Georgetown, Texas, Southern California, and the University of California. According to the investigation, often children did not know what came as a result of fraud. None of them have been charged. The Justice Ministry said that universities themselves will decide what to do with their students.

Is This the First College Admissions Scandal?

The notorious policy of the so-called "affirmative action" has recently been a topic of many discussions. It aims at fighting discrimination against minorities, especially African Americans. If a student is European, one evaluation system works for them, if Hispanic - another, if an African American or a descendant of the Indians, then the third.

Because in 2014 a group of Asian applicants first filed a joint lawsuit against Ivy League universities, US universities were forced to disclose their system for evaluating applicants, from which it became clear that there is discrimination. In particular, at Harvard, an Asian entrant has a 25% chance of admission, while a white one has 35%, a Hispanic has 75%, and a black one has 95%, the newspaper writes.

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