TV stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are accused of paying huge bribes to get their daughters into elite colleges.
Huffman was taken into custody without incident in Los Angeles this morning, the FBI told Inside Edition, while an arrest warrant was served this morning at Loughlin's residence but she was not home.
The shocking bribery scandal was announced by federal authorities at a press conference Tuesday.
The actors were named among a group of 33 parents who allegedly paid millions to bribe coaches at elite universities to reportedly recruit their children and gain admission. They allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their kids into prestigious colleges including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC.
The man whom authorities allege is at the center of the scheme, William Rick Singer, appeared in a Boston federal courthouse Tuesday. He's accused of spearheading the scam, including allegedly facilitating cheating on college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, Photoshopping prospects' heads on athletes' bodies, and bribing admissions officers.
At the USC campus in Los Angeles, an athletic coach was accused of taking a bribe in return for arranging the admission of Loughlin's daughters in spots reserved for the crew team.
In charging papers, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are referred to as the Giannullis. "The Giannullis agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team— despite the fact they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” the papers read.
“Singer worked with parents to fabricate impressive athletic profiles for their kids including fake athletic credentials or honors or fake participation in elite club themes,” the FBI said Tuesday.
In a 2018 video posted on her YouTube page, Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, said she wasn’t interested in school.
“I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend, but I’m going to go in and talk to my deans and everyone and hope that I can try to balance it all,” she said. “But I do want the experience of game days, partying — I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know."
Another form of Singer's scheme involved paying off officials who administered the SATs, according to the criminal complaint.
Huffman is accused of hatching a plan with Singer and her husband, William H. Macy, in the couple's home. Singer, who is now cooperating with the FBI, "advised Huffman and her spouse that he 'controlled' a testing center, and could arrange for a third party to purport to proctor their daughter's sat and secretly correct her answers afterwards,” according to authorities.
"Huffman's daughter received a score of 1420 on the SAT, an improvement of approximately 400 points on her PSAT,” according to the FBI.
A January interview between Macy and Parade magazine in which he discussed the difficulties of getting his child into college has resurfaced in light of the scandal.
He told the magazine he and his wife were “in the thick of college application time" with Sofia, and that the process was "stressful."
"My daughter Sofia, the oldest, is going to LAHSA [Los Angeles High School of the Arts]. She's thriving there. I know she's going to make a go of it in the business, which I support. I've seen her; she's good, she’s really good," he said. "She's going to go to college. I'm the outlier in this thing. I am voting that once she gets accepted, she maybe takes a year off.”
Macy has not been charged nor have the colleges, which all released statements saying they knew nothing about the scheme.