by the Associated Press:
The founder of an admissions consulting company has pleaded guilty to running a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme involving wealthy parents and coaches at elite universities.
William “Rick” Singer, of Newport Beach, California, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Singer is among 50 people charged in what federal officials say is the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department.
Authorities say Singer schemed with parents, coaches and others to pay students’ way into schools like Yale, Georgetown and Stanford University.
Prosecutors say parents paid Singer about $25 million to bribe coaches and administrators into pretending that their children were athletic recruits to guarantee their admission.
The NCAA says it will look into claims made against college coaches and administrators in the admissions bribery scandal.
In a statement, the NCAA says the “charges brought forth today are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education.”
Most NCAA rules that regulate recruiting are aimed at preventing schools and coaches from giving improper benefits and enticements to athletes.
In this case, parents were paying coaches to help students gain entry to college by falsifying athletic credentials and claiming that the students were being recruited to plays sports.
The NCAA says it is reviewing the allegations “to determine the extent to which NCAA rules maybe have been violated.”
College coaches and others have been charged in a sweeping admissions bribery case unsealed in federal court.
The racketeering conspiracy charges unveiled Tuesday were brought against the coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown and the University of Southern California.
Authorities say the coaches accepted bribes in exchange for admitting students as athletes, regardless of their ability.
Prosecutors say parents paid an admissions consultant $25 million from 2011 through Feb. 2019 to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as recruited athletes to boost their chances of getting into schools.
Prosecutors allege that fake athletic profiles were also made to make students look like strong high school athletes when they actually weren’t.
Authorities say the consulting company also bribed administrators of college entrance exams to allow a Florida man to take the tests on behalf of students or replace their answers with his.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among at least 40 people indicted in a sweeping college admissions bribery scandal.
Loughlin appeared in the ABC sitcom “Full House,” and Huffman starred in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Both were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in indictments unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Boston.
Court documents say Huffman paid $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could partake in the college entrance cheating scam.
Court papers say a cooperating witness met with Huffman and her husband at their Los Angeles home and explained the scam to them. The cooperator told investigators that Huffman and her spouse “agreed to the plan.”
Huffman is married to actor William H. Macy.
Messages seeking comment have been left with representatives for Huffman and Loughlin.