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Parents charged after paying for children to get into top colleges

The USC campus in Los Angeles on May 17, 2018. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

More than 50 people, including actresses and CEOs, were charged in an alleged scheme to get their children admitted to top colleges without needing the proper credentials to do so.

This highly publicized scandal was made possible through a non-profit organization known as The Key Worldwide Foundation, run by William Rick Singer.

A 204-page affidavit details the whole case start to finish including all necessary evidence to convict the parents and scammers involved. A copy of the affidavit provided by the Washington Post can be found here.

In general, the scheme worked by first convincing the ACT or SAT corporations that the student needed extended time to complete the test, as well as an alternate location to take the test by claiming a learning disability. Once this was done, they were sent to one of two testing facilities where Singer had bribed the proctors. Then the proctors could provide answers to the students, change test answers after the student had left, or someone else would take the test in place of the student.

According to the affidavit, parents paid between $15,000 to $75,000 per test with each payment being a donation to The Key Foundation. Because the Key Worldwide Foundation operated as a non-profit charity, which meant that any money donated by parents was tax deductible and allowed them to reduce the amount of money they had to pay taxes on.

Other methods utilized by Singer exploited college athletic programs to lessen entry requirements. These worked by providing some form of falsified documentation to coaches that the student was indeed an athlete, and then bribing the coach to provide the student a spot on the athletic team which lowers the academic standards for admission to the college.

The case affected eight colleges across the country all of which have a reputation for being highly selective and prestigious schools. The eight targeted schools include Yale University, Wake Forest University, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Southern California, The University of San Diego, The University of California at Los Angeles, Georgetown University and Stanford University.

Grand Rapids Community College student Hayro Morello, 27, of the Dominican Republic, noted that this scandal is not just about money.

“(This is) really bad because going to school is not just paying for credits,” he said.

Morello used the medical field as an example of how requirements can be absolutely vital.

“If you buy a title (such as a medical doctorate), you are practicing killing people.”

For a full list of those charged, click here.