The defendants were indicted on Tuesday, after The Key CEO William Rick Singer pleaded guilty to allegedly helping students of wealthy parents get into competitive colleges, either through bribes or helping them cheat on exams.
Singer admitted the allegations were true during a hearing at a Boston federal court.
"All of these things, and many more things, I did," Singer said, reports CNN. "I created a side door that would guarantee families would get in."
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said Singer was paid nearly $25 million by parents. According to prosecutors, he told one parent that his company helps "the wealthiest families in the US get their kids into school." Even The Key's website proudly listed helping the "world's most renown families and individuals."
Singer, 58, pleaded guilty to four charges - racketeering conspiracy, money laundering, tax conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He could spend the rest of his life behind bars, since he faces up to 65 years in prison and three years of supervised release. He could also be sentenced to a $1.25 million fine and $400 special assessment.
Singer's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 19.
Scroll on for a look at the allegations against Huffman and Loughlin in what prosecutors dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues."
Photo credit: Getty Images
Huffman Made a 'Purported Charitable Contribution' of $15,000 to Participate
According to the indictment, Huffman paid a "purported charitable contribution" of $15,000 to The Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) to take part in the cheating scheme to help her eldest daughter with husband William H. Macy, Sofia, 18.
Prosecutors said a cooperating witness visited Huffman and explained to her and Macy how the scheme worked. He claimed to "control" a testing center and could arrange for someone to "secretly correct" Sofia's SAT answers. The witness claimed "Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan," but Macy was not charged.
Huffman later learned her daughter's high school was providing its own proctor, so the witness would not be able to doctor Sofia's answers. "We'll speak about it," the witness replied. The solution to the conundrum was to have Sofia take the SATs at a different location.prevnext
Huffman's Daughter's SAT Score Jumped 400 Points Over Her Practice Score Thanks to the Cheating Scheme
Sofia took her SATs in December 2017 and received a 1420 score, almost 400 points better than her PSAT score, which was taken without the help of the Key's third-party fixing her score. The Key paid $40,000 to the person who administered the test to Sofia and three other students, according to the indictment. The person who doctored the tests received $35,000.
On Feb. 27, 2018, Huffman made the $15,000 "contribution" to KWF. They received a letter in March 2018, which falsely claimed the donation would "allow us to move forward with our plans to provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth."
The indictment also includes transcripts of phone calls between Huffman, Macy (identified as "spouse") and the cooperating witnesses about the scheme.prevnext
Huffman Considered Pulling off the Scheme Again for Her Younger Daughter
The indictment includes transcripts from a Feb. 13, 2019 phone call between Huffman and the first cooperating witness about doing the same scheme for her younger daughter, Georgia, 17.
Ultimately though, Huffman chose not to, as the Desperate Housewives star feared Georgia's SAT tutor might suspect cheating if her scores went dramatically up. The witness told Huffman not to worry about it, but it did not ease her concerns.prevnext
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are Accused of Spending $500,000 to Have Their Daughters Listed as USC Crew Recruits
Prosecutors accused Full House star Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, of paying $500,000 in bribes to have their daughters - Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Rose, 20 - designated as crew recruits "despite the fact they did not participate in crew." Their scheme helped their daughters get into the University of Southern California.
The cooperating witness emailed Giannulli, telling him Isabella Rose's grades were "at or just below the 'low end' of USC's admissions standards." So, Loughlin and Giannulli agreed with the witness to "use bribes to facilitate her admission to USC as a recruited crew coxswain." The only problem was Isabella does not row competitively and never participated in the sport.
In September 2016, Giannulli sent the witness a photo of Isabella on an ergometer. A few weeks later, Donna Heinel, the senior women's associate athletic director at USC Athletics, presented Isabella to the USC athletic admissions subcommittee as a crew recruit, according to prosecutors. Two days later, the witness asked the Giannullis to send Heinel $50,000.
After Isabella was admitted to USC, Steven Masera, KWF's CFO, sent the Giannullis an invoice for $200,000.
"Again thanks for all. We are currently on holiday in the Bahamas but will gladly handle this when home next week," Giannulli replied. KWF received the payment in April 2017, prosecutors said.prevnext
The Giannullis Pulled the Same Scheme With Social Media Star Olivia Jade
When it came to getting Olivia Jade, a social media influencer with millions of followers, into USC, Giunnulli and Loughlin went to KWF again about pulling off the exact same scheme. Olivia Jade even sat on an ergometer for an "action photo." Two weeks after submitting Olivia to the USC athletic admissions subcommittee, Olivia was accepted. However, the cooperating witness told Loughlin to "please continue to keep hush hush till March."prevnext
Olivia and Isabella's High School Guidance Counselor Thought USC Received Incorrect Information
During the process, Olivia and Isabella's high school guidance counselor raised some red flags about her admission to USC. The cooperating witness told prosecutors that the guidance counselor asked Olivia about Isabella's crew recruitment to USC. This did not make sense to the counselor, who knew neither sister took part in the sport, so the counselor believed USC received incorrect information, according to prosecutors.prevnext
Olivia Was 'Confused on How' to Submit College Applications and Key Hired Someone to Do So
In December 2017, Loughlin emailed the cooperating witness about Olivia struggling to fill out college applications.
"[Our younger daughter] has not submitted all her colleges [sic] apps and is confused on how to do so," the email read, according to the indictment. "I want to make sure she gets those in as I don't want to call any attention to [her] with out little friend at [her high school]. Can you tell us how to proceed?"
The witness directed Loughlin to a KWF employee who could fill out an application for Olivia. She was accepted by USC in March 2018.
Prosecutors included a transcript from conversations between the witness and the Giannullis, with the witness telling them the IRS was auditing KWF at the direction of prosecutors. During the conversations, they made sure they were "on the same page" for what the explanations for their payments to KWF would be.prevnext
Loughlin and Huffman Both Turned Themselves in to Police This Week
Loughlin turned herself in to authorities on Wednesday, while Huffman was taken in on Tuesday.
Loughlin was released on $1 million bond after the FBI took her into custody Wednesday morning. She was released on $1 million bond and will be allowed to work within the U.S. and British Columbia, Canada, but has to give up her passport in December. However, Loughlin has already lost work since the arrest.0comments
When Huffman was taken into custody on Tuesday, she was released after posting $250,000 bail. She did have to turn in her passport.
Both Loughlin and Huffman are scheduled to be in Boston court on March 29.prev