"Full House" actor Lori Loughlin and the former head of financial firm Pimco are due to face criminal charges on Wednesday related to a $25 million scheme to help wealthy Americans secure places for their children in top USA colleges.
Macy and Felicity Huffman have reportedly appeared in front of a downtown Los Angeles judge at the federal courthouse after the actress was indicted this morning on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Macy paid $250,000 to have her released.
At the center of the scheme was admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California, authorities said. The indictment of wealthy Californians has provided ammunition for the Trump administration in its feud with the Hollywood elite. Giannulli was released on a $1 million bond.
Loughlin became famous as the wholesome Aunt Becky in the 1980s and '90s sitcom "Full House".
Loughlin, 54, surrendered to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents early Wednesday after returning from Vancouver, where she was filming. In an open letter, Mamet said: "That a parent's zeal for her children's future may have overcome her better judgment for a moment is not only unfortunate, it is, I know we parents would agree, a universal phenomenon".
The conspiracy allegedly included bribing entrance exam administrators to allow test takers to take exams in the place of students or to correct students' answers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of MA.
Prosecutors allege Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid $500,000 to have their two daughters labeled as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though neither is a rower. In addition to her starring role in When Calls the Heart, Loughlin also headlines the Garage Sale Mysteries franchise on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Nine coaches are accused, including former Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith; UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo, Wake Forest volleyball coach Bill Ferguson and Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer.
Singer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to racketeering charges.
In many cases, the students were not aware that their parents had arranged for the cheating, prosecutors said, although in other cases they knowingly took part.
Those involved could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
"Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college, and it's disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others", US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement Wednesday.
Many other cases involved photo fraud, according to Lelling. A number of the institutions moved quickly to fire or suspend the coaches and distance their name from the scandal, portraying themselves as victims.