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Charges for parents, coaches in college admissions scam

Law enforcement says a California man is at the center of the so-called “Varsity Blues” scandal, in which wealthy parents paid large sums of money to get their children into prestigious universities using bribes, falsified test results, fake reports of athletic prowess and other illegal methods. Among those facing charges in the case are actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

The man was allegedly paid between $200,000 and $6.5 million by 33 parents, and 50 people have been detained for their participation in the scheme. On March 12, the man pleaded guilty to federal crimes that included obstruction of justice, money laundering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Some of the schools targeted were Yale University, Georgetown University and Wake Forest University. Schemes included getting children extra time for tests on the false grounds that they had a disability, having someone else take the tests for them and photoshopping their faces onto stock photos of athletes as evidence of athletic prowess.

Among those charged with racketeering conspiracy are the former head tennis coach at Georgetown, Wake Forest University’s former volleyball coach and a College Board test administrator. A number of parents are facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. One former sailing coach has pleaded guilty to racketeering-related charges.

Crimes associated with these types of charges are often known as white-collar crimes, and people may make the mistake of thinking the charges are not very serious. This is not accurate, and people who are facing charges for white-collar crimes or who are even being questioned in relation to them may want to talk to an attorney. In the Varsity Blues case, the people who have already pleaded guilty may have done so to avoid more serious charges and a more severe sentence.

Source: NPR, “U.S. Charges Dozens Of Parents, Coaches In Massive College Admissions Scandal,” Bill Chappell and Merrit Kennedy, 3/12/2019

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.