They faked disabilities, photoshopped faces onto different students’ bodies, and paid millions in bribes in a scam to ensure kids from rich families got into selective colleges, federal prosecutors charge. The scam required dozens of bribes of test administrators and relied on colleges’ different standards for student athletes, reports USA Today. William Rick Singer, at the center of the scam, said, “What we do is help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school.” Describing how the scam worked, the newspaper says the Edge College and Career Network would set up bribes to those who run exams like the SAT or ACT. Sometimes, someone else took the test for the student. In other cases, students were given answers during the test. Their test might be revised after the fact. Clients paid between $15,000 and $75,000 per test.
Tests take place in large group sessions, though students with disabilities are allowed extra time. They also can take the test alone. That meant parents would lie about their children’s having a learning disability. Or parents were told to “fabricate a reason — such as a bar mitzvah or a wedding,” to explain why students needed to take the test elsewhere. Many students had no idea their parents were paying to alter tests. Scammers would submit staged or doctored photos of students who were not athletes, so they could clear lower admissions standards. Parents would donate to a charity set up by Singer: the Key World Foundation. That charity would donate to coaches or to programs chosen by coaches. The bribe in hand, the coach would falsely say the student was an athlete. Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on “Full House,” allegedly paid the University of Southern California to admit her two daughters as crew recruits, although they did not row competitively.