Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and other parents charged in the college admissions scandal appeared before a federal judge Wednesday in Boston. Authorities have called it the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.
- 33 parents, including prominent Hollywood figures and business people, are among those facing charges. Prosecutors say the parents paid an admission consultant to rig their children's test scores or bribe coaches at sought-after schools.
- The racketeering conspiracy case includes the parents of applicants, ACT and SAT administrators, a test proctor and coaches at universities including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas at Austin.
- Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid half a million dollars to have their two daughters categorized as recruits to the USC crew team even though neither participated in the sport.
- Prosecutors said Huffman agreed to pay $15,000 -- disguised as a tax-deductible charitable contribution -- to a foundation operated by admissions consultant William Singer, who in turn allegedly arranged for a particular proctor to ensure Huffman's daughter scored well on a college entrance exam.
- CBS News learned from court documents filed Tuesday that at least one of the parents expected in court Wednesday -- businessman Devin Sloane, who's accused of paying a $250,000 bribe -- is in plea discussions with the government.
Details emerge from Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman court appearances
Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman stood before a federal judge in Boston for a brief court hearing and waived their right for a preliminary hearing. During the hearing, Judge M. Paige Kelly read the two actresses the conditions they will be living under while they are free on bail.
CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reports both Loughlin and Huffman will have limited ability to travel from their homes, must receive court permission to travel internationally for their acting careers, and are not allowed to have firearms in their homes. They were also ordered not to break any more laws.
Judge Kelly did make an exception to a rule in that both women have been granted permission to speak about their respective cases with family members, as the case involves their children.
Going forward, the defendants will have to decide whether to go to trial or work out a plea deal with prosecutors. Of the 50 people charged in the scandal, there have been four guilty pleas so far. CBS News has learned one of the other parents who was not in court today is in talks with prosecutors about a plea deal.
Lori Loughlin greeted by fans, hecklers
As Lori Loughlin arrived at federal court Wednesday afternoon, she was greeted by fans who turned out to see her outside the courthouse. Some hecklers were in the crowd, as well -- including one who yelled, "Pay for my tuition, Lori!," CBS Boston reports.
Loughlin and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, have each been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the college admissions cheating and bribery scandal. According to the Associated Press, the couple said little during Wednesday's brief hearing and they remain free on bail.
Felicity Huffman arrives for court hearing
Shortly before Loughlin arrived, Felicity Huffman walked into the courthouse accompanied by her brother. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was not present. Macy was not charged in the college admissions scandal, even though multiple other married couples were jointly charged. Investigators have not offered an explanation.
The Associated Press reports the actress did not speak much during her hearing, which only lasted a few minutes, and she was not asked to enter a plea. Huffman remains free on bail.
Parents turn to consultant to understand prison life
Justin Paperny is a former stockbroker who served prison time for fraud and now works with wealthy clients as a prison consultant. He told "CBS This Morning" has been hired by one parent charged in the scheme and is in talks with several others.
"They're scared and it's 'Can I survive in prison? Am I cut out for prison?'" Paperny said. "What's most surprising to me about the first conversation is how many of them didn't view their actions as criminal."
Paperny said he is helping them confront their denial while answering their basic questions about prison life, including ""What's it like? What will my job be? Can my family visit? Is there email? Is there internet?"
Parents in cheating scandal appeared in Boston federal court on Friday
A procession of wealthy parents - from a Napa Valley vineyard owner to a Hot Pockets heiress -- appeared in court Friday to hear charges that they paid bribes to get their children into top colleges.
The 15 parents, including CEOs, investment executives, real estate developers and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, are slated to appear in Boston federal court on charges related to the nationwide college admissions cheating scheme dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
The initial court appearances are largely a formality. Defendants weren't asked to enter a plea Friday. Court officials simply recited the charges and maximum sentences while the judge informed the defendants of their rights and considered any special requests.
A former Yale soccer coach triggered FBI's college bribery investigation
A key defendant whose actions apparently exposed the scandal, former Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith, became the third person in the case to plead guilty. Meredith didn't say a word as he left a Boston courthouse last Thursday surrounded by a crush of cameras. Inside, the 51-year-old pleaded guilty to pocketing more than $860,000 in bribes to help parents get their children into Yale.
Court documents show that in 2017, William "Rick" Singer, the confessed mastermind behind the scheme, paid Meredith $400,000 to get the daughter of a wealthy couple into the Ivy League school.
Meredith designated her as one of his recruits even though she had never played competitive soccer. Last week, Yale announced it was rescinding that student's admission.
USC may expel students associated with scandal
The University of Southern California said students associated with the nationwide college admissions scandal will not be able to get transcripts or register for classes while their cases are reviewed. USC said in a statement that those students "have been notified that their status is under review" and that following the reviews, "we will take the proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion."
It also said applicants who are tied to the scam will not be admitted to the university. "USC determined which applicants in the current admissions cycle are connected to the alleged scheme and they will be denied admission," the school said. "The university is conducting a full review of the matter and continues to cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department's investigation."
Accusation facing the parents in college admissions scandal
CBS News has compiled a detailed list of every parent charged in the college admissions scandal.
Prosecutors allege dozens of parents, test administrators and college coaches were involved in a widespread effort to rig the college admissions process for children whose parents were willing to pay bribes. The indictments filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts include hundreds of pages of allegations, implicating more than 50 people. The allegations focus on two distinct sets of schemes: cheating on standardized tests and bribing college coaches to get students in.