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X/P 40 charged in college exam cheating plot

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Cross-Posted with Chat Board

Wow! 

Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among at least 40 people charged in a $25 million college entrance exam cheating scheme, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

The alleged scheme focused on getting students admitted to elite universities as recruited athletes, regardless of their athletic abilities, and helping potential students cheat on their college exams, according to the indictment unsealed in Boston.

Charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

The plot involved students who attended or were seeking to attend Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, USC, University of Texas, Wake Forest, and Yale, according to federal prosecutors.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/feds-uncover-massive-college-entrance-exam-cheating-plot-n982136

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"In most cases the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe, officials said."

Ummmm. I don't know about you, but I think maybe they had an idea. 

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4 minutes ago, Plum said:

"In most cases the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe, officials said."

Ummmm. I don't know about you, but I think maybe they had an idea. 

How could they not know?

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I came here to see if this topic is already mentioned here and it is. I read the article on this URL:

https://www.foxnews.com/us/college-entrance-exam-cheating

For those of us who do it honestly, which IMO is the vast majority of people, that is truly disgusting.

ETA: I would like to see all of them go to prison. I doubt that will happen, but it would set an example.

Edited by Lanny
add ETA
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1 hour ago, Mom0012 said:

How could they not know?

 

I suppose it is possible Ms. Huffman put her kid through several test prep classes where she got practice scores in the 1400 range and ALSO paid for her answers to be changed. I'm not seeing that as likely tho.  In the same vein, how likely is it that a kid blithely went along with a soccer photo shoot when he/she never played soccer, and didn't ask any questions? It's sickening.

Edited by Sneezyone
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2 hours ago, Plum said:

"In most cases the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe, officials said."

Ummmm. I don't know about you, but I think maybe they had an idea. 

Well, maybe not the bribe part! But they must have understood that there was some form of fraud, particularly when they seem to have been paying other people to take the SAT/ACT for them. These kids can't be THAT stupid that they didn't realize what was going on.

I have long ago come to the conclusion that the admissions system is rigged to a large extent, but this takes the cake. Disgusting 

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I have a hard time believing the children were innocent. A 400-point increase in SAT without studying? Being contacted by college coaches for sports you don't play?

It is sad on so many levels. The children of these overly ambitious parents have been publicly humiliated. Kids who didn't get in - because hey, mom and dad weren't wealthy - have to wonder how many others "bought" their way in. All coaches and ADs will come under scrutiny because of a few bad ones.

We are in wait mode on...Georgetown and Wake Forest...this is just discouraging. I know that there are kids who already have an "in" - legacy, a special hook. How many more pull some under-the-table strings?

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5 hours ago, Plum said:

"In most cases the students did not know their admission was contingent on a bribe, officials said."

Ummmm. I don't know about you, but I think maybe they had an idea. 

 

If you read the charging document, which is over 200 pages long, in some cases the parents took pains to hide it from the kids. Singer, who led the conspiracy to commit fraud, joked about how kids thought that they'd had huge improvements on their test scores.

I suspect many of these kids didn't handle their own applications much.

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Just now, Sebastian (a lady) said:

 

If you read the charging document, which is over 200 pages long, in some cases the parents took pains to hide it from the kids. Singer, who led the conspiracy to commit fraud, joked about how kids thought that they'd had huge improvements on their test scores.

I suspect many of these kids didn't handle their own applications much.

 

Jeez, how awful for those kids. Can you imagine finding out about this now after a couple of years at a college? They must feel so "not good enough" on so many different levels. Aside from all the damage to the whole process and the other kids who didn't get in because of the cheating, these parents have done such a huge disservice to their own children. Horrible.

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I feel bad for the kids in a way. In most cases I think they would have done fine as students at other, less highly selective colleges. 

They will always know their application was corupt. This will probably follow them forever.  

There are so many good colleges and good educations out there.  These parents didn't have to make these choices. 

Fwiw, the charging document mentions that there were over 800 other families in previous years. These indictments may be just the beginning. 

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1 minute ago, kirag714 said:

 

Jeez, how awful for those kids. Can you imagine finding out about this now after a couple of years at a college? They must feel so "not good enough" on so many different levels. Aside from all the damage to the whole process and the other kids who didn't get in because of the cheating, these parents have done such a huge disservice to their own children. Horrible.

 

Given the numbers involved there were probably some who were witting and felt entitled and others who had no idea.  

You don't have to go to Harvard to be happy.

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I wonder if qualified applicants who were denied entry could also sue the perpetrators? Since they will likely get off with nearly no punishment, it would be one way they’d have to pay. 

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On 3/12/2019 at 6:09 PM, Sebastian (a lady) said:

 

Given the numbers involved there were probably some who were witting and felt entitled and others who had no idea.  

You don't have to go to Harvard to be happy.

I completely agree that some kids and some probably did not, depending on how a family handled the application process.

I completely agree that you don't need Harvard to be happy, but I read here last week that you need certain schools to be a X employee. However, I know that isn't true based on my students' experiences and that of their classmates. however, I read comments like that here, I'm sure people also make those comments outloud to friends.  I think that can lead to a sense of desperation, which can lead to cheating. (.Most of what I have read of this scandal has been about a  different kind of desperation.)

 

 

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16 hours ago, *LC said:

I completely agree that some kids and some probably did not, depending on how a family handled the application process.

I completely agree that you don't need Harvard to be happy, but I read here last week that you need certain schools to be a X employee. However, I know that isn't true based on my students' experiences and that of their classmates. however, I read comments like that here, I'm sure people also make those comments outloud to friends.  I think that can lead to a sense of desperation, which can lead to cheating. (.Most of what I have read of this scandal has been about a  different kind of desperation.)

 

 

 

There is all kinds of psychology involved in this case.  The ringleader did push buttons related to fear of missing out and that other people did the same thing.

In some cases he seems to be suggesting that this supported the various sports programs. Some of the money was deposited as donations to athletics programs, but I don't know how the money was used.

Some of the kids were participating and some families kept it hidden from the kids (there are recordings of conversations about how the kid can't find out).  I feel bad for the latter group.  They didn't create the situation they are now in.

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On 3/12/2019 at 2:27 PM, linders said:

I have a hard time believing the children were innocent. A 400-point increase in SAT without studying? Being contacted by college coaches for sports you don't play?

I think the only student who had any actual contact with a coach was a girl who was told to email the tennis coach at Georgetown, and she was a willing participant in every aspect of the scam: she even "gloated" about faking her test scores (ACT, SAT, and subject tests) and she was directly involved in falsifying her application. But AFAIK from reading the affidavit, she is the only one who even had email contact with a coach — even the other students who knew they were using athletics to get in the "side door" and who posed for photos never spoke to the coaches. 

Contact with coaches (and the athletic director at USC) was entirely handled by the "college consultant" who was running the scam, Rick Singer. Some of the kids literally had NO idea that their parents were paying to get them in as athletes — the consultant decided what sport they would "assign" to the student based on what slots were available at which schools, not what the kid actually did. Singer had someone on staff who fabricated the athletic resumes, sometimes photoshopping faces onto other athletes bodies, and all correspondence with the universities went through Singer until the very end, when the students would get a regular admissions packet in March, having no idea they'd actually been admitted through athletics several months earlier.

One kid whose parents paid $250K to get him into USC as a pole vaulter (something he'd never done) was totally perplexed when his academic advisor mentioned he would have to schedule his classes around track practice. Kid said there must be a mistake, he wasn't a track athlete and had no idea why he was listed that way. Advisor said she would look into it, and Singer had to scramble to get the kid taken off the list (claiming he'd been injured over the summer). Not only had the athletic resume been totally fabricated, the kid's mother was so determined to hide the scam from him that they actually used a photo of an entirely different kid in the resume. Imagine being a freshman at USC and suddenly discovering all this last week as your mother is being arrested. 😕 

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