Felicity Huffman Taken Into Custody in Alleged College Bribe Scheme

Lawrence Kim
March 13, 2019

The fraud scheme was run out of a small college preparation company in Newport Beach, California, that relied on bribes to sports coaches, phoney test takers and even doctored photos to land college slots, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.

According to documents unsealed on March 12, the average parent paid around $250-$400,000 but up to $6 million per student (which was then funneled to either an SAT or ACT test administrator to cheat or a college coach to style the applicant as an in-demand athlete) in a scheme that's been active since 2011.

Parents charged in the alleged scheme are accused of paying an admissions consultant, William Singer, a total of $25 million between 2011 and February 2019 for the arrangement.

Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling held a press conference Tuesday on the incident.

The FBI investigation into the alleged scheme was nicknamed "Operation Varsity Blues".

In charging papers, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are referred to as the Giannullis.

"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.

He went on to say: 'I am incredibly grateful I had the privilege and the opportunity to have a tutor and afford practice test programs.

In many cases, the students were not aware that their parents had arranged for the cheating, prosecutors said, although in other cases they knowingly took part.

Huffman and her spouse, actor William H. Macy, allegedly "made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000...to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter". Her daughter received a 1420 on the test. "I do not see the difference between getting a kid into school by bribing the Building Committee, and by bribing someone else". Court document allege the couple paid $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither is a rower.

Apparently, the Desperate Housewives alum knew that the arrest was looming and would have surrendered on her own if the events of this morning hadn't gone down. During the show's run, Huffman won an Emmy for her role, and was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role as a transgender woman in 2005′s "Transamerica". She became a star on "Full House", a standout hit of ABC's family-friendly TGIF lineup in the early 1990s, and appeared on the recent Netflix reboot "Fuller House".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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