Former ‘Full House’ star Lori Loughlin on Wednesday released from federal custody on a $1 million bond after being charged with allegedly taking part in the largest college admissions scam in U.S. history.
She follows fellow actress Felicity Huffman, who was released a day earlier on a $250,000 bond after appearing in a Los Angeles federal court.
They’re among 50 defendants ensnared in what’s been dubbed ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ – accused of conspiring to get their kids into elite colleges under false pretenses by arranging for doctored entrance exams or bribing college coaches to accept them for their so-called athletic prowess, when in many cases they had none.
The actresses’ husbands also appeared in court – Huffman’s spouse William H.
Macy, of Showtime’s ‘Shameless,’ has not been named in the case, but Loughlin’s husband - fashion-designer husband Mossimo Giannulli – is also a defendant.
He was released Tuesday on a $1 million bond.
At the center of it all, defendant William 'Rick' Singer, who allegedly ran the scam through his college counseling service in southern California.
Between 2011 and 2018 Singer is said to have received $25 million from wealthy parents to guarantee their children's admission to schools including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford through his foundation, The Key.
In some cases, Singer helped parents stage phony sports photos of their kids, even photo-shopping their children’s faces onto pictures of the athletes pulled from the internet to make it look like they were high school sports stars.
So how did applying to college allegedly morph into high-end criminal activity?
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIE GROSS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF COLLEGIATE GATEWAY, SAYING: ‘It is horrifying and shocking on so many different levels.’ Julie Gross is founder and president of Collegiate Gateway, a New York-based college counseling service.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIE GROSS, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF COLLEGIATE GATEWAY, SAYING: ‘On an ethical level, the parents are role-modeling truly despicable behavior.
And then on a psychological level, to be communicating to children that they are truly not good enough, that their efforts need to be supplemented by other people in order for them to admitted to colleges that the parents deem acceptable to them.’ The alleged masterminds of the scam and parents who paid into it could all face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.