52 wealthy people have been charged with fraud for participating in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, the largest college admissions scandal the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has ever prosecuted.
This is a big deal.
But it is far from surprising.
Hollywood actors Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, and dozens of others complicit in contracting with consultant William "Rick" Singer are merely exploiting a system that has been rigged in their favor for decades.
Two hundred FBI agents were involved in "Operation Varsity Blues" that exposed how parents bribed college coaches and insiders at testing centers $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children's admission into some of the nation's most elite schools, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, UCLA , University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University, in what FBI special agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta described as "a sham that strikes at the core of the college admissions process."
U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, stated in a press conference Tuesday morning:
"These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege. Based on the charges unsealed today, all of them knowingly conspired with Singer and others to"buy their children's admission to elite schools through fraud."
According to charging documents, Rick Singer arranged for examiners to take college admissions tests for his clients' children, provide correct answers to the tests, or change answers after exams were completed.
Lelling said, to avoid suspicion, scores were inflated in cases where the test was being administered a second time.
"What Singer was good at doing was calibrating the fake credentials to appear realistic and not so impressive as to invite suspicion or additional scrutiny."
Singer also plotted with university coaches to claim students were participating in athletics even if they never played sports, and went so far as to doctor photos of athletes in which pictures of students' heads were placed atop pictures of athletes' bodies.
One male student was presented as "an elite high school pole vaulter" even though the student's school had no record of him pole vaulting or doing any other track and field events.
But that's not all.
In one instance, Singer instructed one parent to get his daughter to "be stupid" while a psychologist evaluated her so she could be awarded extra time on her exams.