The greatest college admission fraud ever recorded in the US. A year ago, the feel-good Hollywood couple Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy made a $150,000 donation to the Key Worldwide Foundation. This money would help “provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.” Could this be a simple act of kindness? Not quite.
The foundation prosecutors affirmed that it resembled more a massive SAT-fixing and college admissions-rigging scheme. This so-called disadvantaged youth was far from disadvantaged. She was the couple’s elder daughter. This is only one example of many more to come.
The Justice Department accused admissions advisers, coaches and school officials of offering wealthy families a back door access into colleges. “We’re not talking about donating a building, we’re talking about fraud,” said Andrew Lelling. Celebrities and other wealthy individuals used cheating, bribes, and lies to get their kids into elite colleges.
Authorities agree that we should punish this kind of behavior. This type of case also sheds light on deep inequities in our college admissions system. One’s future and education should not depend on their parents’ bank account or family. Yet it seems like it does. By buying a building or doing other acts of kindness, you can basically get your kid into a prestigious college. So the scandal not only attacks what is illegal but what is legal.
This is the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted. The commission accuses wealthy parents such as Hollywood actresses, coaches and college prep executives. This nationwide fraud gets unfairly students into prestigious universities.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta said parents spent from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee admissions for their children. This period stretches from 2011 to 2019.
One method involved bribing university officials to pass off applicants as athletic recruits even if they weren’t. The other used brazen cheating on standardized exams. Both schemes had Hollywood stars playing a main role.
The scheme had two major pieces. First, parents paid a college prep organization to take the test for their child or correct their answers. Second, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes. Yet they were not actually athletes. The allegations also extend to cheating on the SAT and the ACT. Those involved in the conspiracy encouraged students to say they had learning disabilities. This was to get a special kind of treatment in their favor. In the case of Felicity Huffman’s daughter, they granted her additional time to complete the examination. But this is normally only for students with special needs or disabilities.
For example, some applicants could take the test in a ”controlled” center to get this special treatment. Because they provided fake reasons like having to attend a long-distance wedding .
This type of pattern appears also extended to helping non-athletes by giving them the benefits of athletes. But the majority of the parents charged are wealthy CEOs and business executives. This includes Douglas Hodge, former Pimco CEO and Robert Zangrillo, CEO of the Dragon Global investment fund.
Who knows how many more are not out there yet in the open? And the question remains how can this be really stopped? As a result, when notorious institutions accept bribe, where does the moral line stand?