Listen this article
On March 12, one of the largest bribery scandals in the history of US universities was revealed. Some celebrities are involved
According to Vulture, on Tuesday, March 12, lawyer Andrew E. Lelling announced at a press conference that his firm would be prosecuting charges against more than 50 people involved in conspiring to bring the less qualified students into the most prestigious universities in the United States. According to Lelling, those involved would include parents, students, coaches, university officials and admissions consultants. The bribes to achieve admiration would be among the thousands of dollars and reach figures of six million dollars. The investigation is also federal, given that the case is extended by six states from 2011 to 2019.
Leer en español: Estas 2 celebridades están involucradas en el fraude universitario
This scandal involves some celebrities and the most famous universities in the country. Among the institutions mentioned in the Lelling statement are Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, Wake Forest University, University of Texas, University of San Diego, and the University of Southern California. Among the accused and investigated parents are the actresses Lori Loughlin (from the nineties Full House series ) and Felicity Huffman (from Desperate Housewives), as well as multiple CEOs of big companies, a fashion designer, other actresses, an owner of a vineyard and the president of an international law firm. In this way, those involved in what, according to the New York Magazine, would be the biggest fraud scandal in the matter of bribes for admissions, belong to a select elite of privileged families.
Read also: Kevin Roldán faces charges of sexual abuse
The center of the scandal
The research revolves around William Rick Singer, university consultant and founder of The Key company. This company, which is based in Newport Beach, California, operates in about 80 US cities and 5 foreign countries. Thanks to The Key, Singer had positioned himself as a reliable consultant who helped students prepare for their state exams, to organize and present their applications to universities and to obtain sports scholarships.
However, according to the Lelling firm's investigation, Singer's real role was to mediate between parents and officials and bribed institutions. Thus, Singer was in charge of negotiating bribes to alter the results of low-qualified students and ensure their admission to one or other universities. He is also accused of altering students' responses, of getting them more time on exams, of altering their applications and even of using photoshop to put their faces on athletic bodies and thus securing sports scholarships.
What is Felicity Huffman accused of?
According to the complaint filed by the firm of Lelling, Singer would have obtained that the daughter of the actress of Desperate Housewives had twice the average student's time to present the SATs, the American State exam to enter the university, alleging that the young woman suffered from a learning difficulty. Singer also hired an official to audit and correct the teenager's exam to get a good score. It is said that Huffman paid $ 15,000 to Singer for this service and that there are recorded telephone conversations as evidence of the bribe.
The actress is married to actor Frank Gallagher, who, despite being a spouse and father of the bribery's daughter, is not accused of having any connection with Singer or having bribed anyone.
What are you accusing Lori Loughlin?
In the case of the star of Full House, the actress and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, creator of the Mossimo brand (it is not yet known if he is the "fashion designer" referred by Lelling) are accused of paying bribes from up to $ 500,000 dollars for his two daughters to be recruits of the team of the University of Southern California despite never having participated in such team. It is also said that in this case, as in Huffman's, there are telephone conversations between a witness who is cooperating (which according to Vulture could be Singer himself) and the actress and her husband to close the bribe treatment.
According to The Cut, Olivia Jade, one of Loughlin's daughters, does not even show any interest in college or professional studies, claiming that her first and true passion is YouTube and her beauty vlog. On several occasions she has tweeted about his disinterest in the university:
it's so hard to try in school when you don't care about anything you're learning— Olivia Jade (@oliviajadee) 21 de abril de 2017
YouTube will always be my #1 passion. I promise I’d way rather be filming 24/7 than sitting in 6 hours of classes straight but an education is also super important to me so thank u for ur patience and letting me figure out time management . Ily bbs— Olivia Jade (@oliviajadee) 6 de febrero de 2019
Lori, Olivia's mother, will be waiting for the court to argue in her favor.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón
Translated from "Estas dos celebridades están involucradas en el fraude universitario"