This week, the FBI broke up a major college admissions cheating ring involving some of the most prestigious universities in the US when they charged over 50 people across the country, including CEOs, college coaches, and two well-known actresses. The FBI said they do not believe the schools, which included Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Texas, were aware of the cheating.
According to the FBI, William Rick Singer was the ringleader of the scandal and set up a system to accept money from wealthy people in return for getting their children higher scores on college entrance exams arranging for a college coach to recruit them. Singer paid ACT and SAT test administrators to facilitate the cheating on entrance exams and also paid coaches to lie. Some of the parents worked with their children to create fake sports pictures to make it look like they played a sport, and then the coach would be paid to pretend like they recruited the student.
The parents made contributions of up to $500,000 to a charity Singer set up to launder the money, and then the money was paid out in bribes. The parents also got tax deductions for their fake contributions to the charity so they are also being charged with tax fraud. The students who got into the schools illegally might have to leave the schools now.
The FBI operation, called “Varsity Blues”, involved getting Singer to wear a wiretap and talk to other people involved so that the FBI could collect more evidence and identify all of the people involved. The FBI says that they might be charging more people in the future because the investigation is still going on. The scandal involved over $25 million dollars in bribes and fake charity contributions.
Parents and students across the country who were rejected from the schools involved are angry and some are now filing lawsuits claiming that this cheating ring prevented them from getting into a school when they worked hard and followed the law.