Actresses Felicity Huffman (American Crime, Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Full House) are among the dozens of individuals tied to a massive $25 million college admissions cheating scandal, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday morning. Huffman, who won an Emmy for her work on Desperate Housewives, and Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on the long-running family sitcom Full House, face charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. All for a genuinely wild scheme in which wealthy parents would pay tens of thousands of dollars to help their already privileged kids get into elite colleges... and the University of San Diego.
At least 40 people are part of the alleged conspiracy, which unfolds in the court documents like a Coen Brothers movie or a plotline from Showtime's Shameless, which stars Huffman's husband William H. Macy. (Coincidentally, Macy, who played a guy caught up in a con in Fargo, complained about the cost of his daughter's horse in an interview with The Ringer earlier this week.) The plan, which was carried out by a California businessman named William Rick Singer, centered around wealthy parents paying bribes to increase their kids chances of attending elite universities like Stanford, Georgetown, UCLA, Yale, and more.
The methods included paying people to take the SATs and ACTs for their kids, bribing test proctors to correct the tests after completion, and, in perhaps the funniest twist, using "Photoshop and stuff" to fabricate athletic accomplishments for potential students to list on their applications. Yes, that means that photos of students pretending to be athletes were staged, and in some cases the students' heads were just edited onto the bodies of real athletes. University athletic coaches and administrators at certain colleges were also part of the plot, claiming students were "athletes" with totally fake accolades, which would allow them easier access to the schools despite lower test scores.