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El Paisano

Nationwide College Amissons Sham

March 12, An FBI investigation dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” led to federal prosecutors charging 50 people in the largest college admissions swindle ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The 50 people charged, allegedly conspired in a scheme to cheat on college entrance exams (SAT, ACT), and secure admission to elite schools under false pretences and bribery.

Among those charged were: 3 people who organized the scheme, 2 SAT or ACT exam administrators, 1 exam proctor, 1 college administrator, 9 coaches, and 33 parents.

Central Defendant William Singer, of Newport Beach Calif., is expected to plead guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money-laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice.

Singer ran a college counseling service and foundation “The Key Worldwide”. Between 2011 and 2018, Parents paid an estimated $25 million to guarantee admission to schools that include Yale, George town, Stanford, University of Southern California, University of Texas, UCLA, and Wake Forest.

Singer allegedly used his charity as a front to launder the money used to bribe college officials, division 1 coaches, and college exam administrators securing admission of his clients’ children.

Singer advised parents to take their children to a therapist, and get a letter indicating the child suffered from a learning disability, or other issues, and required additional time to complete the SAT or ACT . Once a company that gives the exams agreed to give the extra time, Singer would arrange for the child to take the exam individually, overseen by a co-conspirator.

Parents paid Singer between $15,000 and $75,000 to have someone either take the exams for the children, or correct their answers afterward to achieve sufficient scores.

Additionally, Singer arranged for someone to take online high school classes in place of students, so students could submit higher grades when applying to colleges.

Singer also worked with parents to fabricate impressive athletic credentials for their children; bribed coaches and administrators recruited the kids as competitive athletes for various schools. Staged photos, and Photoshopped images of real athletes were used to support athletic achievements.

Parents paid Singer via his charitable organization. At the behest of Singer, employees of the charity provided the parents with acknowledgement letters indicating there was no exchange of goods or services. This allowed the parents to mask the nature of the payment, and use the donation as a tax write-off.
Among those named were TV actresses’, Lori Loughlin, and Felicity Huffman.

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Nationwide College Amissons Sham