Lori Loughlin, who played Rebecca Katsopolis on Full House, was among 50 people arrested on Tuesday for an alleged college admission cheating scam.
Court records unsealed in Boston, Massachusetts on Tuesday led to 50 arrests across the nation, according to a report by local ABC affiliate Eye Witness News 11. Loughlin was among other actresses as well as chief executives who are accused of paying huge bribes to get their children into elite colleges.
Another star implicated in the case is actress Felicity Huffman, known for her role as Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives. So far, neither celebrity has made a public response to the arrests.
Other arrests reportedly included university athletic coaches and administrators of college exams, who are accused of knowingly accepting the bribes. At the center of the alleged scam was one California man, who operated the network of bribery as a kind of business.
The parents arrested in the case were paying their bribes directly to the man in California, authorities say. They believe the parents had full knowledge of what they were doing. The bribes came in predetermined amounts, and the scammer would then direct the funds to ensure the students' admission.
If the bribes were sent to coaches, the coaches would reportedly construct a fake profile making the student look like an athlete, allowing them to offer admission on that basis. If they were sent to an exam administrator, they were expected to correct the student's test answers, or even hire a proctor to take the exam for them.
Federal prosecutors are going after the case. Officials said that the students themselves did not know that their admission was based on a bribe in most cases.
The bribes themselves were not consistent, either. Authorities say they ranged from just a few thousand dollars up to a high of $6 million. The federal documents note that Huffman's payment — $15,000 — was disguised as a "charitable contribution."
According to prosecutors, Huffman and her husband "made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000... to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter. Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so."1comments
Meanwhile, Loughlin and her husband allegedly "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."
Officials say that their evidence includes recorded telephone calls from Huffman and emails from Loughlin. So far, there is no word on what the penalty might be for these offenses if the actresses are convicted.