The Justice Department on Tuesday charged 50 people — including two television stars — with being part of a long-running bribery scheme to get privileged children with lackluster grades into big-name colleges and universities.
The alleged crimes included cheating on entrance exams, as well as bribing college officials to say certain students were coming to compete on athletic teams when those students were not in fact athletes, officials said. Numerous schools were targeted, including Georgetown University, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and UCLA, among others.
Boston’s U.S. attorney, Andrew Lelling, called it the largest-ever college admissions scam prosecuted by the Justice Department. Of the 50 people charged as part of the FBI’s Operation Varsity Blues, 33 were parents, officials said, warning that the investigation is ongoing and that others could be charged.
The massive scheme was discovered accidentally by the FBI — while working an unrelated undercover operation, officials said. That tip led to a sprawling, nationwide corruption probe.
“These parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege,” said Lelling. “This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud. There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add there will not be a separate criminal justice system, either.”
The TV stars are Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman (Mrs. William H. Macy, you betcha). Take a look at Loughlin’s dingbat daughter, who took some deserving kid’s place at USC because her folks bribed the right people. Excerpt:
Court documents allege she and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
Before Olivia Jade went off to college in 2018, she generated controversy by posting to her popular YouTube channel that she didn’t “really care about school” but wanted the “experience” of “partying.”
“I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend,” she told her nearly 2 million subscribers, according to Yahoo News.
“But I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all. But I do want the experience of like game days, partying…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”
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And this one:
— Kyle Sammin (@KyleSammin) March 12, 2019
UPDATE: Jane Buckingham was arrested today in the scam. She allegedly paid for her son to get a fake ACT score, and talked to the scammer about getting her daughter Lilia to get a fake ACT score too, as the daughter, says mom, is “not a good test taker.”
Lilia Buckingham is a “social media influencer” — she has 1.4 million Instagram followers — and has a novel coming out called … well, read the announcement. Mama sure is teaching her a lesson about how influence works in this corrupt society. Tom Wolfe should be alive at this moment!
UPDATE.2: Reader Jones:
There is important stuff that is done at universities, somewhere buried deep beneath all the decadence. But that stuff is so important, you could completely level the universities and it would spring up again, of its own accord, and probably in a much healthier form. (Just don’t touch the libraries, or the labs.) The net benefit of just destroying all the universities would be so immense.
It’s amazing that as someone who values knowledge over virtually everything else, and who has spent most of his life up to this point getting degrees from elite universities, I hate them this much.