UPDATED 2019/03/13 2:00PM
Well-known businessmen, wealthy parents, coaches and actresses are among those charged in a massive college cheating admission scandal. The case is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.
In the scam, parents paid a college prep organization, Key Worldwide Foundation, to take entrance exams on behalf of students or correct their answers. The organization also allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit students into college as recruited athletes regardless of their abilities.
Felicity Huffman, an Academy Award nominee, has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and was arrested without incident at her LA home. She appeared on Tuesday in a federal court in LA and her bond was set at $250,000. She also surrendered her passport. Allegedly the actress paid $15,000 to facilitate cheating on her daughter’s SAT. She allegedly discussed the scheme in a phone call with Lori Loughlin.
Loughlin is another one of the big names involved along with her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. She surrendered herself to authorities in LA. The couple is accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to designate their daughters as recruits for the USC crew team. Neither girl rows crew. Loughlin is expected to make her first appearance in federal court today, while Giannulli appeared on Wednesday and was released on $1 million bail.
The CEO of Hercules Capital, Manuel Henriquez, has voluntarily stepped down in the wake of the scandal. He is accused along with his wife of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud related. The pair allegedly spent $450,000 to get their daughter into Georgetown and fix an ACT exam for his other daughter. The documents allege the Henriquez bribed Gordon Ernst, the head tennis coach at Georgetown, to designate their daughter as a recruit. She does not play tennis. The former Georgetown tennis coach has been placed on leave by the University of Rhode Island and charged with racketeering conspiracy.
Gorgan Caplan, the co-chairman of an international law firm, Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, is among those charged. Authorities allege that he made a charitable donation to the Key Worldwide Foundation to arrange for Mark Riddell to proctor his daughter’s ACT exam and correct her answers after she had completed it. According to a call with Rick Singer, the mastermind behind Key Worldwide Foundation, Caplan knew the risks. He reportedly said, “It’s just, to be honest, I’m not worried about the moral issue here. I’m worried about the, if she’s caught doing that, you know, she’s finished.” Caplan made his initial appearance in District of Connecticut court and was released on a $500,000 bond.
In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation. Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents.