All USC applicants connected to the alleged admissions cheating scheme of a Newport Beach fraud defendant will be denied admission, according to campus sources.
“Regarding the students associated with the alleged scheme, each case will be reviewed individually, and we will make informed, appropriate decisions based on that review,” states an email from the USC Alumni Association that is based on a letter to the campus community from President Wanda M. Austin. “Those associated with the scheme who applied for admission for the coming academic year will be denied admission.”
A campus spokesman confirmed that for the media today covering what’s now described as the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted. More than 50 people–including wealthy and powerful CEOs, Hollywood actresses and a fashion designer who launched his worldwide brand from Balboa Island–face various federal fraud charges in the case dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
Considering the review of students, what Olivia Jade says at the 5:41 mark of this video on her YouTube channel: “… I do want the experience of game days, partying … I don’t really care about school, as you guys know,” says the daughter of Full House cast member Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.
Loughlin surrendered this morning to federal authorities in Los Angeles and appeared in federal court, where a judge set bond at $1 million for her charge of felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She was expected to be released and later attend a court hearing in Boston, where Lelling’s case was filed.
Giannulli, who was released on $1 million bail after a Tuesday court appearance, and Loughlin are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to have their daughters designated as USC crew team recruits, even though they did not participate in the sport.
William “Rick” Singer, the founder of the Newport Beach for-profit college counseling and preparation business Edge College & Career Network–a.k.a. “The Key”–was paid roughly $25 million to get children into some of the country’s most elite universities, according to Lelling.
Now a cooperating witness for the government, Singer admits to schemes that involved having students pose as competitive high school athletes when they did not play the sport and cheating on SAT or ACT examinations, with professional test takers and college coaches and athletic department officials paid bribes along the way.
Chapman University’s Panther student newspaper reports today that The Key Foundation, a charity that Singer is aleged to have set up to shield parent’s payments for his services, donated $325,000 to the private university in Orange.
Two payments were made in 2015 and 2016, writes the Panther’s Rebecca Glaser, who also notes that among those indicted in The Key case is David Sidoo, a businessman and philanthropist who was the first Indian-Canadian to be drafted by Canada’s professional football league. He is accused of paying $100,000 to have a test-taker pose as his son Dylan in taking the SAT.
The phony test was submitted to Chapman, which accepted the younger Sidoo, who enrolled as a film production major in January 2012 but transferred to another school in 2014.
The Panther quotes Chapman President Daniele Struppa writing in an email to the paper that the university takes the matter “very seriously” and is cooperating with the Department of Justice investigation. “We are not aware nor have we been advised that we have been involved in any wrongdoing,” Struppa reportedly adds while hailing Chapman’s “open and fair” admissions process.
Lelling says no students have been charged as many were minors unaware of what their wealthy parents were doing on their behalf. For instance, in the story linked below, Singer talks with parents who have their children take aptitude tests even though their results will not be the ones ultimately turned in. According to transcripts of telephone conversations filed with the federal indictment, Giannulli and Singer talk about the parent having provided photos of his daughters, whose faces were superimposed onto the bodies of student-athletes.
The federal prosecutor did not rule out students caught up in the scam being named defendants as the investigation continues.
Thanks to transcripts of phone calls Singer had with wealthy parents–and that the government was secretly recording–we now know the students who benefited from his services entered college through the “side door,” as opposed to the “front door” that vast majority of properly admitted co-eds came through or the “back door” reserved for the offspring of mega-rich donors who have campus facilities named after them.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.