Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin Appear in Court for College Cheating Scandal, Do Not Enter Pleas
The actresses were arrested among 50 others accused of cheating the collegiate system in order for their children to be admitted into upper-echelon universities.
Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman on Wednesday appeared in Boston federal court for charges stemming from their alleged involvement in a nationwide college admissions scandal.
The actresses were among 50 arrested — including more than 30 parents and nine coaches — who are accused of cheating the collegiate system in order for their children to be admitted into upper-echelon universities in what authorities dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
Loughlin was all smiles and waved at fans outside John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. Some gatherers jeered, "Lori, pay my tuition!" according to video and pictures. Huffman, who arrived first, quietly entered the building with only her attorney.
They did not enter pleas.
Magistrate Judge Page Kelley left the bail amounts the same as were set by previous judges, according to Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy, who was in the courtroom. The judge also ordered they surrender their passports and get rid of any firearms they may have in their homes, Murphy reported.
Thirteen defendants total appeared in court Wednesday.
In what is the largest college admissions scheme ever prosecuted, parents allegedly paid the founder of a college prep business, William “Rick” Singer, of Newport Beach, California, to have someone take the SAT or ACT for their children, according to authorities. Prosecutors allege Singer also paid around $25 million in bribes to coaches and at least one administrator to pretend clients' children were athletic recruits, thereby guaranteeing college admission. Singer has already pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges in the case, admitting he took millions in payouts to help wealthy parents get their children into elite universities.
Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000, through Singer's shady operation, in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the University of Southern California's crew team — even though the two never participated in the sport — thereby guaranteeing their admission in the college, according to documents. The couple faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Both are out on separate $1 million bonds.
Huffman is accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme for someone to take her oldest daughter's SAT exam. The charging papers refer to her husband William H. Macy as "spouse." He was not indicted. He did appear with his wife at her initial court appearance, but was absent Wednesday. Like Loughlin, Huffman faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She is out on $250,000 bond.
Andrew Lelling with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, previously said authorities did not believe any college was a "co-conspirator" in the scam. And, so far, no students were being charged. Universities, such as USC, have already fired staff and coaches accused of being involved in the scheme.
STAR IN COURT: “Full House” star Lori Loughlin arrived at a courthouse in Boston for a hearing on the college admissions cheating scandal, one of several high-profile defendants appearing in front of a judge today, including actress Felicity Huffman. https://t.co/211MLyxade pic.twitter.com/E8KZLX9P7f— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 3, 2019