Two high profile actresses, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged in a criminal investigation for bribing college coaches and insiders at testing centers to secure admission for their children into some of the most prestigious schools nationwide.
The operation called Varsity Blues is the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.
Lori Loughlin, who appeared in the ABC sitcom “Full House,” was charged along with Felicity Huffman who starred in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Both were charged with fraud and conspiracy.
Huffman was arrested by midday Tuesday.
Court documents said Huffman paid $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so that her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scheme.
Officials said parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission into some of the nation’s most elite schools.
Prosecutors said the actresses and other parents paid a college test prep organization from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes, to alter test scores and to have others take online classes for them in order to boost their children’s chances of getting into schools.
The admissions consultant worked with coaches from top universities including University of Southern California, UCLA, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown.
A former Yale soccer coach who pleaded guilty helped build the case against others.
“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
No students were charged. Authorities said in many cases the students were not aware of the fraud.
A spokeswoman for Loughlin had no comment. Huffman’s representative has not returned messages.