Celebrities committing federal crimes –

UPDATE:

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin among 50 charged in college entrance cheating scandal

More details:

Felicity Huffman’s bond set at $250G; Lori Loughlin’s husband’s bond was set at $1 million. As I type this, Loughlin herself has not yet been taken into custody.

It appears that Huffman’s husband, William Macy of Shameless fame, is not accused of any criminal activity.

20 thoughts on “Celebrities committing federal crimes –

  1. The government has nothing better to do than investigate people who might have cheated on a college entrance exam? What’s next? A Special Counsel to investigate people who didn’t list an extra pet on their condo app?

    Oh brother….

    1. I think its in the government’s interest to investigate fraud. I thought that would be obvious.

      For example:

      “The head women’s football coach at Yale University was allegedly paid $400,000 to accept a student who did not even play the sport – and those parents gave Mr Singer $1.2m for arranging the bribe. ”

      A fake athletic scholarship is theft. You stole from the University and you stole from a more deserving student.

      I wonder how much Fred Trump bribed Wharton to let his idiot son in?

      1. I’m not sure it was Huffman and Macy, but some coverage of this story indicates that several of the parents attempted to take tax deductions — as donations to charity, I suppose — for the hundreds of thousands of dollars they paid to the go-between. But apart from that, it really is hard to see what the problem is in many of the instances described. If a corrupt admissions officer at a private college accepted money under the table to let the children of rich parents in, then surely that is an issue between the admissions officer and his/her employer. I doubt that there is any law making it a crime for parents to offer or pay money to a representative of a private university in order the get their child into that university.

    2. As I read the article, the deal with Huffman and Macy may be a bit of overreach by the Feds, maybe slap-on-the-wrist stuff, but Lori Loughlin seems to be involved in some big, big numbers (half a million) and some harmful actions (her kids taking places away from the intended student-athlete recipients).

      (It’s not clear precisely what Huffman did. The article suggests that a putative, presumably fake, charitable donation somehow helped a daughter get into college. Not sure how this worked. It was a modest amount of money relative to the cost of sending a kid college, so it sounds like chickenshit, and it sounds like they learned their lesson with the second child, but perhaps it is more serious than the initial broad brush would imply.)

      1. They did the full cheat with the first daughter (she had her incorrect answers corrected but not above the 30% mark from her prior exam) but the second daughter was more academically motivated. There also appears to have been a fear of getting caught wrt the second daughter.

        A country without a moral compass.

  2. Between this shit, Smollett, and R. Kelly, there won’t be room for any actual news pretty soon.
    That doesn’t sound so bad lately…

  3. My guess is the ultra wealthy were unhappy with these wealthy but not ultra wealthy competing with them to bribe these elite universities to let their children in not on the basis of merit.

    “Bribery should only be legal if it involves the buying of multi million dollar buildings for the university! The only other way students should be able to get in without merit is if they are legacy students of ultra wealthy parents (like Donald J Trump.)

    The best thing to take from this is that nobody should believe that an Ivy League graduate is automatically a better student than a graduate from Podunk College.

    Take away the positive signalling effect from the ‘Ivy League’ status and there is no extra reason for any student to seek to get in to these schools.

    1. Except the ultra wealthy donate to the schools benefiting the student body…the wealthy here are benefiting a few crooks. Major difference.

      1. Not to those who are hiring thinking that the children of the ultra wealthy got into the Ivy League on their own merits and not to those at large who believe the legacy students (I.E Donald Trump) earned their placements.

        Allow the ultra wealthy to donate but make it a requirement that the list of legacy students have to be released every year, and see how many ultra wealthy still donate.

      2. As has been written by others, if the ultra wealthy have the money to make large donations like these to benefit their children (and also benefit the university) then they have the money to pay taxes (smaller amounts annually) that can also benefit universities, but to which they won’t receive direct personal benefits.

        I.e: just like how it works for everybody else.

    2. I have never seen a breakdown of the number of (let’s say Harvard) freshmen who were admitted on the basis of pure academic performance/potential, as opposed to other reasons like legacy or donations.

      That could turn out to be fascinating.

      Trump was a C+ to B student at Fordham but somehow managed to transfer into Penn.

      Dubya, although not the dummy he appears to be, was never a scholar at any level, before, during or after his Yale days. (As I remember, his Yale transcript was leaked)

      Same can be said for JFK before, during and after Harvard.

  4. I’m not sure it was Huffman and Macy, but some coverage of this story indicates that several of the parents attempted to take tax deductions — as donations to charity, I suppose — for the hundreds of thousands of dollars they paid to the go-between. But apart from that, it really is hard to see what the problem is in many of the instances described. If a corrupt admissions officer at a private college accepted money under the table to let the children of rich parents in, then surely that is an issue between the admissions officer and his/her employer. I doubt that there is any law making it a crime for parents to offer or pay money to a representative of a private university in order the get their child into that university.

    1. But isnt thst the same as saying person A bride person B so the one punished is only person B. Both sides are guilty. If a parent pays someone to say their kid is a volleyball prodigy and deserves an athletic scholarship, knowing full well their child doesn’t not play thst sport, they are guilty. You’re right that they aren’t the ONLY guilty party. But man are they guilty too.

  5. I, too was confused about exactly how this is a Federal crime. Usually paying off people who aren’t public officials is not illegal. It may be a violation of their employment agreement or work rules, but that’s for their employer to enforce. Typically to defraud a person or business, you have to lie materially to get something of known value (like money or valuable goods), not something of nebulous value like “admission to a college”. The admission decision itself has no clear value.

    In this case, the government’s theory relies on the theory of Honest Services Fraud, which only was made a federal crime in 1988. It allows a fraud charge even if the value is not clear, as long as some sort of Honest Services were being fraudulently not provided. The idea is, I guess, that these celebs bribed employees in a fraudulent conspiracy to deprive their employers (the colleges) of “Honest Services” (in this case accurate assessment of potential students). In the case of the testing fraud, I guess the employer is the testing company?

    In a situation where a seriously rich person gives the college a lot of money for their kid to go to the college, that’s not any kind of crime, because the college is just making a business transaction. It may be infuriating to everyone whose kid got good grades and didn’t make it in, but it’s legal.

    1. The Feds would also get involved if there is tax fraud. (Claiming a bribe to be a charitable deduction.)

      1. Yes, absolutely, though these specific indictments aren’t for tax fraud. I’m sure some of these folks will be getting a call from the IRS soon, though…

  6. From another website:

    I saw in some article that the FBI discovered it in Boston while investigating something else. You would have thought that some of the kids on the crew or sailing teams might have noted the weirdness and said something to the NCAA. It seems that most of the kids were getting in through academic exemptions for athletes in the “lesser” sports taking away opportunities for the inner city kids that had worked hard on their HS crew or sailing teams for a chance to get into an elite school. Jk–It was more like rich white privilege crime on white privilege crime.

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