Actresses charged in college admissions cheating scheme

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0943 GMT (1743 HKT) March 14, 2019
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11:57 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Lori Loughlin has surrendered to federal authorities in Los Angeles

 

Actress Lori Loughlin has surrendered to federal authorities in Los Angeles, according to FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to designate their two daughters as recruits to the USC crew team despite their lack of participation in the sport, according to court documents. 

The actress will be booked and is expected to make her initial appearance in federal court this afternoon in Los Angeles. 

Giannulli appeared in federal court yesterday and was released on $1 million bail. His next court appearance is on March 29 in Boston.

 

11:06 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Hercules Capital CEO steps down in wake of college admissions scandal

From CNN's Kate Trafecante

Manuel Henriquez, CEO of Hercules Capital, has voluntarily stepped aside as chairman and chief executive officer, according to a company statement. 

Henriquez will continue as a member of the company’s board and an adviser to the company, the company said.

What was his role: Henriquez and his wife were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud related after spending $450,000 to get his daughter into Georgetown and fix an ACT exam for his other daughter, according to court documents. 

Court documents indicate that the couple worked with Singer, who provided proctors to help testing for both of their daughters and adjust their test scores. 

The essay and application to Georgetown were falsified, indicating Henriquez’s daughter had a “Top 50 ranking” in the United States Tennis Associational Junior Girls Tennis and other inaccurate information. Records from the USTA do not show she played in any USTA tournaments in high school. The documents allege the Henriquez’s bribed Gordon Ernst, the head tennis coach at Georgetown, to designate their daughter as a recruit.

Their daughter was ultimately admitted to Georgetown.

Hercules describes itself as a finance company focused on providing senior secured loans to venture capital-backed companies in technology-related markets.

10:34 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Analysis: The scandal isn't just what's illegal, but what's legal as well

From CNN's David Perry

David M. Perry, a journalist and historian who is the senior academic adviser to the history department at the University of Minnesota, writes for CNN Opinion how the college cheating scandal is the tip of the iceberg.

The behavior described in this alleged fraud should be punished. But on a broader and more basic level, the case also sheds light on deep inequities in our college admissions system. Because if someone can get their kid into Harvard by buying a building, let alone by committing any of the alleged acts emerging from this case, the scandal isn't just what's illegal, but what's legal as well.

Read it.

8:31 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Former Georgetown tennis coach placed on leave by current university

University of Rhode Island has placed tennis coach Gordon Ernst on administrative leave, according to a statement on the university’s website.

Ernst is the former head coach of men and women’s tennis at Georgetown University and has been charged with racketeering conspiracy.

The University of Rhode Island statement says Ernst “has not been involved in the recruitment of any current players nor in the signing of any new recruits” and that his leave is due to the incidents that occurred while he was at Georgetown University. 

The University of Rhode Island is not named in the college admissions scandal.

8:14 a.m. ET, March 13, 2019

Here's a breakdown of who was charged in the cheating scheme

From CNN's Eric Levenson

The college admissions scheme revealed Tuesday is the largest of its kind ever prosecuted, federal prosecutors said, and features 50 defendants across six states, millions of dollars in illegally funneled funds and a handful of the country's most selective universities.

The scheme used two methods — cheating on on standardized tests and bribe the people who decide which students get admitted — to get students into the top colleges.

Those charged include....

  • Two SAT/ACT administrators
  • One exam proctor
  • 9 coaches at elite schools
  • One college administrator
  • 33 parents
8:52 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli's bond set at $1 million

From CNN’s Jack Hannah

Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli appeared today in federal court in connection with the alleged college cheating admission scandal.

His bond was set at $1 million. Giannulli surrendered his passport and his travel is restricted to the US.

His wife, actress Lori Loughlin, was not in court with him.

Giannulli and Loughlin have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to a complaint.

Giannulli is scheduled to appear in Boston federal court on March 29.

8:53 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Former Yale women's soccer coach faces charges in admissions scandal

From CNN's Rob Frehse

The former head coach of Yale University’s women’s soccer team is accused of conspiring with William Rick Singer, the man behind the college cheating admission scheme, to accept bribes in exchange for designating Yale applicants as recruits for the women’s soccer team, according to a court filing.

Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, the head coach of the Yale women’s soccer coach for about 23 years, agreed to work with Singer in 2015, according to the filing.

Meredith is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, the filing said.

In one case, Singer is accused of adjusting the resume and personal statement of a candidate to falsely describe the applicant as the co-captain of a prominent club soccer team in southern California, despite the fact that the applicant did not play competitive soccer, the filing said. Singer allegedly sent Meredith a check for $400,000 in January 2018 after the applicant was admitted to Yale, according to the filing.

Relatives of the applicant allegedly paid Singer approximately $1.2 million in multiple installments, including approximately $900,000 that was paid to one of Singer’s charitable accounts, according to the filing.

If convicted, Meredith will forfeit over $865,000, more than $308,000 of which was already given to the FBI in a cashier’s check in May 2018, the filing said.

He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on March 28.

8:22 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Actress Felicity Huffman's bond set at $250,000 in alleged college admission scheme

From CNN’s Jack Hannah

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Actress Felicity Huffman appeared today in a federal court in Los Angeles to face charges in connection with an alleged college admissions scheme.

The judge set Huffman's bond at $250,000.

The Academy Award nominee is charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to a complaint.  

Huffman provided short responses when asked to confirm her name and if she understood the charges against her.

Prosecutors requested a high bond for Huffman. They listed numerous recorded conversations with William Rick Singer, the man behind the alleged scheme.

Prosecutors estimated that Huffman has $20 million in real estate assets and another $4 million in other assets.

Huffman surrendered her passport, and her travel was restricted to the US.

Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was in court and jotted notes during the hearing.

Huffman is scheduled to appear in Boston federal court on March 29.

7:25 p.m. ET, March 12, 2019

Yale University president: Alleged scheme is an affront to school's "deeply held values of inclusion and fairness"

Yale University president Peter Salovey
Yale University president Peter Salovey Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Yale President Peter Salovey said the university is cooperating with government officials and "may take further actions" as the investigation into the alleged the college admissions scheme unfolds.

In a letter to the school community, Salovey said he was "profoundly dismayed and disturbed" by the allegations mentioned in today's indictment. Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, former head soccer coach at Yale, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, according to the complaint.

Read Salovey's letter:

I am writing to inform you of a criminal investigation involving an admissions scheme targeting universities nationwide, including Yale. Today the Department of Justice revealed that dozens of individuals have been charged with federal crimes during an ongoing FBI investigation of cheating in college admissions. Individuals allegedly involved in this conspiracy bribed athletic coaches and standardized testing officials to deceive the admissions offices of universities across the country. 
As the indictment makes clear, the Department of Justice believes that Yale has been the victim of a crime perpetrated by a former coach who no longer works at the university. We do not believe that any member of the Yale administration or staff other than the charged coach knew about the conspiracy. The university has cooperated fully in the investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case moves forward.
The corrupt behavior alleged by the Department of Justice is an affront to our university's deeply held values of inclusion and fairness. I want to assure our community that I am committed to making certain the integrity of the admissions and athletic recruitment processes is not undermined again.
As the investigation unfolds, the university may take further actions. I will work closely with our athletics director and dean of undergraduate admissions to make any necessary changes to protect the university from the kind of criminal behavior the Department of Justice described today.
I am profoundly dismayed and disturbed by what we have learned this morning about the alleged actions of a former Yale coach, but these actions do not detract from my pride in the accomplishments and hard work of our student-athletes, athletics program, and admissions staff.