Actress Felicity Huffman is among those accused in a widespread college admissions scam in which wealthy parents allegedly paid massive sums to conspirators to help their children cheat on SATs and create fraudulent athletic credentials in order to gain admission to elite colleges like Yale and Stanford.
TMZ reports that Huffman, best known as the star of “Desperate Housewives,” is currently in custody in Los Angeles and is expected to be released on bond later Tuesday. She is among over 50 people arrested or expected to be arrested in what authorities described in a press conference Tuesday as “the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”
ABC News obtained court records outlining the charges against parents who allegedly paid bribes to help their children gain admission to the schools.
According to the charging documents, Huffman “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 … to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter.” TMZ reports that Huffman’s husband William H. Macy has not been charged although the $15,000 sum appears to have been paid by both husband and wife.
“Beginning in or about 2011, and continuing through the present, the defendants — principally individuals whose high-school age children were applying to college — conspired with others to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere, including Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and the University of Southern California — Los Angeles,” the indictment reportedly reads.
At the press conference, authorities said that in a separate incident, a soccer coach at Yale allegedly accepted $400,000 to create a fake athletic profile for a student who was later accepted to Yale as a soccer recruit.
According to multiple reports and statements made at the press conference, a California man, William Singer, is believed to be at the center of the alleged scam, as founder of the nonprofit Key Worldwide Foundation, which was allegedly a front, according to Fox News.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling reportedly said at Tuesday’s press conference that the foundation received $25 million in payments to help facilitate admissions, often through bribes.
Authorities said at the press conference that many of the students who benefited from the bribes were unaware that their parents were engaging in allegedly illegal activities in order to get them entrance to the schools.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
[Feature image:KGC-11/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 via AP]