Dozens of people, from famous actors to college coaches and administrators, have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in an admissions bribery scheme involving Yale, Stanford, and several other elite colleges, according to case documents unsealed on Tuesday.
The alleged scheme had several facets, including: Parents paid a nonprofit corporation to bribe administrators of college-entrance exams to let a third party take tests in their children’s place, according to a supporting affidavit. And the group also bribed college coaches and administrators to designate the applying students as athletes, giving them a leg up.
A cooperating witness described the scheme as a “side door” to guarantee admission to the children of wealthy families in California, according to the affidavit. Applicants could go in through the “front door,” applying through the normal process, or the “back door,” through large donations to the university. The “side doors” involved the high-school entrance exams and the athletic designations, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, parents who participated in the scheme sought admission for their children at Yale University, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Austin, among other elite colleges. The Department of Justice says athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California, Georgetown, and Wake Forest are among the people who were indicted.
According to Andrew Lelling, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, college leaders did not appear to be involved in the scheme, with the exception of an athletic director at the University of Southern California. According to the affidavit, Donna Heinel, senior associate athletic director at the university, is among the indicted. An email to her university email address was not immediately answered.
Household names included in the documents include the actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. See the full list of those charged.
This is a developing story.