A whopping 50 people have been charged in what the FBI code-named Operation Varsity Blues, a multi-million dollar college admissions scam that helped the children of wealthy parents cheat their way into gaining admission to some of the country’s most elite colleges. According to NBC News, the families of these prospective students — including celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman — reportedly paid a whopping $25 million to fake athletic profiles, bribe coaches and administrators, and cheat on college exams to help their children gain acceptance into universities like Stanford, Georgetown, Yale, UCLA, USC, Boston College, and Boston University.
The scam, which the New York Times calls the Justice Department’s “largest ever college admissions prosecution,” was reportedly orchestrated by William Rick Singer (above), the man behind California-based college preparation business The Edge College & Career Network (also known as “The Key”). The alleged fraudster reportedly used The Key and Key Worldwide Foundation, his business’ nonprofit arm, to funnel tax-free bribes to top athletic coaches and administrators. As of this writing, Singer has already pleaded guilty “to counts of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice,” and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. NBC News reports that out of the 50 people charged, “33 were parents,” “nine were college coaches” and the rest were “test administrators and the scheme’s main figures,” like Singer.