BOSTON– The founder of an admissions consulting company has pleaded guilty to running a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme involving wealthy parents and coaches at elite universities.
William “Rick” Singer, of Newport Beach, California, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Singer is among 50 people charged in what federal officials say is the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department.
Authorities say Singer schemed with parents, coaches and others to pay students’ way into schools like Yale, Georgetown and Stanford University.
Prosecutors say parents paid Singer about $25 million to bribe coaches and administrators into pretending that their children were athletic recruits to guarantee their admission.
The FBI says 13 defendants the scam have been taken into custody in the Los Angeles area, including actress Felicity Huffman.
Officials say initial court appearances are planned Tuesday afternoon.
Actress Lori Loughlin is among those charged but was not taken into custody Tuesday morning. Her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was arrested at their home.
Court documents say Huffman paid $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so her daughter could partake in the college entrance cheating scam.
Papers say a cooperating witness met with Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, at their Los Angeles home and explained the scam to them. The cooperator told investigators that Huffman and her spouse “agreed to the plan.”
Macy has not been charged; authorities haven’t said why. Representatives for Huffman haven’t returned a message seeking comment.
Representatives for Loughlin had no comment.