Fake Learning Disabilities, Photoshopped Abs and More: Inside the College Admissions Cheating Scam
William Singer, the accused mastermind behind the college admissions scam, allegedly encouraged parents to fake their child's learning disability.
William Singer, the accused mastermind behind the college admissions scam, allegedly encouraged parents to fake their child's learning disability in order to ensure they had extra time to cheat on tests like the SAT or ACT.
It was just the first step in what Singer referred to as his "side door" into elite universities, prosecutors say.
Next, after establishing the child had a learning disability, Singer would allegedly recruit Mark Riddell to help the student in question cheat. On the day of the test, Riddell would allegedly fly in to act as exam proctor at the testing center. Then, Riddell would help the child during the test, either by taking it himself or correcting answers before the test was handed in, according to prosecutors.
Riddell, a Harvard graduate and pro tennis player, was allegedly paid $10,000 per test. In return, prosecutors say, he delivered the student and their parents a fantastic SAT or ACT score that could be a ticket into a top school.
Administrators working at the testing centers were allegedly paid to look the other way.
Felicity Huffman is one of the wealthy parents accused of using Singer's services.
"We will ensure that we get a score that will be in the 1400s or higher because we want to achieve the schools we want to, correct?" Singer allegedly told her husband, William H. Macy.
"We're talking about Georgetown," Macy allegedly replied.
"Yeah. So we'll need to be mid-1400s to 1500 ... that's out of 1600," Singer said.
Macy is not charged.
Another part of the alleged scam involved posing as top athletes. Singer targeted sports like sailing, pole vaulting or water polo.
One mom accused in the scheme allegedly Photoshopped her son's face onto a photo of an actual champion pole vaulter when in reality prosecutors say he had never pole-vaulted in his life.
Another dad claimed his daughter was a talented water polo player, using a Photoshopped image as proof in that instance as well.
"Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and her husband are accused of having their daughters pose on rowing machines to show their alleged athletic ability. They'd never rowed crew a day in their lives, according to prosecutors.
Rob Franek, the editor in chief of the Princeton Review, told Inside Edition he was shocked by the allegations.
"Going to sports teams that don't have that spotlight ... that's where they were getting in," he said. "Sports that don't have that national spotlight."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association called the allegations troubling, adding that they should be a concern for all of higher education.
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