The fallout from the “largest college admissions scam ever produced” will be long and arduous for all parties involved, including parents and universities. Today, two days after the revelation of the criminal conduct, the legal ramifications have begun.
USC and UCLA, and other colleges were the first colleges sued by students seeking class status over the scandal, Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit also reportedly names Stanford University, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, Yale University and Georgetown University.
Two students at Stanford said in a lawsuit Wednesday that “qualified students paid college admission fees without realizing that unqualified students were slipping in through the back door of the admissions process by committing fraud, bribery, cheating, and dishonesty,” according to a report by Courthouse News.
“Had she known that the system at Yale University was warped and rigged by fraud, she would not have spent the money to apply to the school. She also did not receive what she paid for—a fair admissions consideration process,” Plaintiff Erica Olsen says in the complaint.
“Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having parents who were willing to bribe school officials,” the lawsuit continues.
On Tuesday, Federal prosecutors announced that they were charging dozens of people, including famous actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in an alleged scheme to help students get admitted to colleges under false pretenses. Prosecutors alleged that the individuals charged tried to bribe college entrance exam officials in order to cheat on admissions tests and that some conspired to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children as “recruited athletes”. Athletes can sometimes get preferential treatment.
Earlier today, we discussed how this latest scandal is an indication of how “truly corrupt” America has become, even as the rich are confident they can get away with anything. Last night, we also reported on major tax implications that could be coming for the parents involved – including potential civil tax fraud penalties and interest charges on any bribe amounts they wrote off.
Yesterday morning, we reported that William Rick Singer was revealed as the man who brokered and facilitated many of the bribes.
Singer is called a “self described serial entrepreneur” who appeared to have found his niche in helping young people get into college. He was the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, the institution that helped broker bribes between the uber-wealthy and prestigious colleges. According to the company’s website, his goal was to “help alleviate the anxiety of getting into college” because he “has seen first hand the stress that the college admissions and athletics recruiting process can put on a family.”
Following charges, Singer pled guilty to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He is looking at between 15 and 19 1/2 years in prison for his crimes. Our original take on the scandal can be read here.