The Cost of College Tuition Now Includes Fraud Charges for These Celebrity Parents

'Operation Varsity Blues' involves Felicity Huffman and others.
  • Dozens stand charged in an expensive cheating scandal, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
  • The scandal involves coaches, exam administrators, students and their parents.
  • Parents paid thousands to have others take their kids’ SAT exams.

The Department of Justice charged dozens of people in a college entrance scam on March 12. The approximately $25 million scandal, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” — likely eponymously after the 1999 movie — involves coaches, exam administrators, students and their parents. And it looks like the parents are some well-known celebrities and CEOs. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin stand among the accused.

“Loughlin, best known for her role in the sitcom ‘Full House,’ and Huffman, who starred in the ABC hit show ‘Desperate Housewives,’ were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud,” NBC News reported.

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College Cheating Scandal: Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and Other Parents Paid Up to $75,000 to Cheat

The collegiate conspiracy aimed to get students into elite schools through cheating, even if the students themselves were less than elite, reported multiple outlets. The scandal has been going on for several years, at least since 2011. It has involved a number of institutions, including Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Wake Forest University, and Yale University.

The architect of the scheme is William Rick Singer, who founded a for-profit college preparation business based in Southern California.

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“Parents paid Singer between $15,000 and $75,000 per test for someone else to take the SAT or ACT exams in place of their college-aged sons or daughters, according to the court papers,” NBC News reported. Huffman is accused of paying an organization $15,000 to enable cheating on her daughter’s SAT exam.

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The Biggest College Cheating Scandals

Part of the case’s visibility no doubt stems from the involvement of celebrities, but how does it compare with other college scandals?

  • In 1994, 125 students were involved in a cheating ring at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • In 1999, a team tutor for the University of Minnesota revealed she had written over 400 papers for players.
  • In 2012, an administrator at Baruch College was accused of inflating grades in order to keep tuition checks rolling in.
  • A 2012 cheating scandal rocked the hallowed halls of Harvard University when it came to light that more than 100 students were under investigation for possible involvement. At least half of them were ordered to withdraw for a certain period.

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Although the amount of people involved in this scandal seems to be fewer, the roughly $25 million figure probably makes this one of the more expensive college cheating scandals.

Could this scandal mean the end of Huffman’s and Loughlin’s careers? Keep reading to learn which celebrities lost big after huge scandals.

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