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FBI uncovers massive college admissions cheating scam

Posted by / March 13, 2019

Higher education has gotten so competitive and so expensive that you might be tempted to think it’s just one  big scam. According to a recent FBI investigation, you would be right to feel that way. Fifty people have been charged with participating in a massive college admissions cheating scheme––the largest such scam ever.

Those who have been indicted so far have been accused of paying up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into schools like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California––among others.

William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network, the alleged ringleader of the scam, has pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million. The scam worked like this: parents would pay Singer, and Singer would in turn render their child’s application much more likely to be accepted. He had people take admissions tests for students, ensuring perfect scores. He would get the students labeled disabled in some way. He would fake athletic credentials and bribe coaches (as was the case with Yale soccer coach who accepted a $400,000 bribe to let a non-soccer player in as an “athlete”). Bribes were often disguised as charitable donations, Aunt Becky from Full House (Lori Loughlin), for example, “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.”

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