varsity blues hits houston

2 Houstonians indicted in nationwide college admissions scandal

2 Houstonians indicted in nationwide college admissions scandal

Lori Loughlin felicity huffman college admission scandal
Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman join two Houstonians named in the scandal.  Photo via ABC13.com

A nationwide college admissions cheating scandal appears to have implications in Houston.

Coaches, CEOs, and celebrities are caught up in allegations that bribes were paid to get their children into top schools, including Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, and Georgetown.

On Tuesday, March 12, federal prosecutors in Boston released nearly 300 pages of allegations in the operation dubbed "Varsity Blues."

At least two Houstonians were indicted in the scheme: Martin Fox, who is the president of a private tennis academy in Houston, and Niki Williams, an assistant teacher at a Houston high school and test administrator for the College Board and ACT.

Two of the biggest celebrity names on the list are actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Prosecutors alleged Huffman, Loughlin, and 31 other parents from "wealth and privilege" paid a collective $25 million to get their children into colleges.

Prosecutors say this is the largest college admissions cheating scam ever prosecuted in the U.S. Those indicted allegedly paid bribes from $200,000 to up to $6 million each to get their children into the elite schools.

Prosecutors say the alleged scam was run by a college admissions counselor in California named William Singer who used testing centers in Houston and California.

"To facilitate the scam, Singer counseled parents to take their children to a therapist and get a letter saying that because of purported learning disabilities or other issues, the child needed additional time to complete the ACT or the SAT. Once the companies that administered those exams had agreed to the extra time, Singer arranged for the child to take the exam individually with one of the proctors he had bribed either at a location in Houston or at a location in California," said Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.

The federal court documents are 269 pages in all. No students were charged. In many cases, the students were not aware of the fraud, authorities said.

Head here to read more about the charges against the defendants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

---

For more on this story, including video, visit our content partner ABC13.

ADVERTISEMENT
Buy Tickets