Actresses Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman among the 40 people accused of cheating in a college exam plot


(NBC) – Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among the 40 people accused of cheating during a cheat ploy for college entrance exams, revealed documents not revealed Tuesday.

The alleged scheme was aimed primarily at admitting students to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students to cheat during their university exams, according to the report. unsealed Boston indictment.

Loughlin, best known for his role in the "Full House" sitcom, and Huffman, who starred in ABC's "Desperate Housewives" hit show, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and a honest service fraud.

According to the criminal complaint, the FBI recorded phone calls involving celebrities and a witness. The representatives of Loughlin and Huffman did not immediately return requests for comments.

The plot involved students attending or seeking to attend universities in Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, San Diego, USC, Texas, Wake Forest and Yale, according to federal prosecutors.

There is no evidence that schools have been involved in unlawful acts.

In all, 44 people, including college coaches, have been charged so far.

Prosecutors said the project was designed by William Rick Singer, founder of a for-profit university readiness company based in Newport Beach, California.

The parents paid Singer between $ 15,000 and $ 75,000 per test so that someone else would have SAT or ACT exams instead of their university – age sons or daughters, according to the authors. court documents.

Singer facilitated cheating by advising students to "extend the exam, including ensuring that their children have learning difficulties to obtain medical documents certifying that they were acting," says Singer. the indictment.

Prosecutors said Singer had used the money to bribe two people who administered the exams – Igor Dvorsiky of Los Angeles and Lisa "Niki" Williams of Houston.

Dvorsiky and Williams, in exchange for receiving the payments, allowed Mark Riddell, a Florida man recruited by Singer, to pass the tests in secret or replace the children's answers with his own, according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, Riddell was receiving about $ 10,000 per test, money that was often routed to a charity account created by Singer.

From 2011 to last month, parents paid Singer about $ 25 million to entice coaches and university administrators to "nominate their children as recruited athletes or in other categories of admissions favored, "according to court documents.

In some cases, Singer's associates have created fake sports "profiles" to improve students' chances of being accepted by giving them the appearance of successful athletes.


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