Current Events

Hollywood Actresses Involved in College Cheating Scandal

Here's everything you need to know about the ongoing investigation and who else is involved.
  • The Department of Justice revealed that 50 people were charged for their involvement in cheating in college admissions.
  • Those charged include actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Full House), as well as prominent businesspeople, college coaches, and SAT administrators.

An FBI investigation has uncovered a massive college cheating scheme that involved students cheating on entrance exams and falsely admitting students on athletic scholarships. The operation, named "Operation Varsity Blues," was unveiled on Tuesday as federal prosecutors made a criminal complaint against those charged.

Some of the universities involved in the case include Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Texas at Austin, and Wake Forest.

The scheme was led by college prep professional William Rick Singer, the owner of the Edge College & Career Network and CEO of the Key Worldwide Foundation, who pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice.


The 50 individuals include high profile personalities such as Academy Awards nominee Felicity Huffman and Full House actress Lori Loughlin, CEOs of large companies, nine college coaches, two SAT administrators, an exam proctor, and a college administrator.

"Parents paid Singer approximately $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators to designate their children as purported athletic recruits, thereby facilitating the children's' admission to those universities," the Department of Justice said in a press release.

Here are the names of the individuals involved:

  • Gordon Ernst
  • Donna Heinel
  • Ali Khosroshahin
  • Laura Janke
  • Jovan Vavic
  • Jorge Salcedo
  • William Ferguson
  • Michael Center
  • Rudy Meredith
  • John Vandemoer
  • William Rick Singer
  • Lisa "Niki" Williams
  • Martin Fox
  • Igor Dvorskiy
  • Steven Masera
  • Mikaela Sanford
  • Mark Riddell: 
  • Gregory Abbott
  • Marcia Abbott
  • Gamal Abdelaziz:
  • Todd Blake
  • Diane Blake
  • Jane Buckingham
  • Gordon Caplan
  • I-Hin "Joey" Chen
  • Gregory Colburn
  • Amy Colburn
  • Robert Flaxman
  • Lori Loughlin
  • Mossimo Giannulli
  • Manuel Henriquez
  • Elizabeth Henriquez:
  • Douglas Hodge
  • Felicity Huffman
  • Agustin Huneeus
  • Bruce Isackson
  • Davina Isackson
  • Michelle Janavs
  • Elisabeth Kimmel
  • Marjorie Klapper
  • Toby MacFarlane
  • William McGlashan
  • Peter Jan Sartorio
  • Stephen Semprevivo
  • Devin Sloane
  • John Wilson
  • Homayoun Zadeh
  • Robert Zangrillo
  • David Sidoo

In addition to paying bribes, fake athletic profiles were also made to carry out the scheme. According to NBC News, Loughlin allegedly told a cooperating witness that she would arrange for one of her daughters to be photographed on a rowing machine to bolster the false claim.

In light of recent events, Yale has issued a statement:

As the federal charging document makes clear, the Department of Justice believes that Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions has been the victim of a crime perpetrated by its women’s soccer coach, who is no longer at the university. The university has cooperated fully in the investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case moves forward.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions relies on varsity coaches to provide honest and expert evaluations of individual applicants’ athletic accomplishments and potential to contribute to a varsity team. The Admissions Committee considers these evaluations alongside the other components of an applicant’s file, but only students whose applications demonstrate their ability to succeed in the academic and residential components of the Yale experience are admitted.


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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is a style writer based in Manila. He writes about fashion, trends, shopping, current news, and more for
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