Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Parents bribing their children into elite schools

[VIDEO] This news broke yesterday and it's quite shocking:
Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and a slew of chief executives are among 50 wealthy people charged in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, federal officials said Tuesday.

Those indicted in the investigation, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues," allegedly paid bribes of up to $6.5 million to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said.

"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud," Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said at a news conference.

"There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy and, I'll add, there will not be a separate criminal justice system either," Lelling said.  
No there should not. Let's continue.
According to Lelling, the ringleader of the scam is William Singer, owner of a college counseling service called Key Worldwide Foundation and a company called Edge College & Career Network. Singer allegedly accepted bribes totaling $25 million from parents between 2011 and 2018 "to guarantee their children's admission to elite schools," Lelling said.

According to Lelling, the ringleader of the scam is William Singer, owner of a college counseling service called Key Worldwide Foundation and a company called Edge College & Career Network. Singer allegedly accepted bribes totaling $25 million from parents between 2011 and 2018 "to guarantee their children's admission to elite schools," Lelling said.

Steven Masera, 69, the accountant and financial officer for the Edge College & Career Network and the Key Worldwide Foundation, was also indicted, according to court documents. Masera and Mark Riddell, a private school counselor in Bradenton, Florida, allegedly worked closely with Singer in the scam, according to the indictment.

Mikaela Sanford, 32, of Folsom, California, another employee of the Edge College & Career Network and the Key Worldwide Foundation, and David Sidoo, 59, of Vancouver, Canada, were also indicted for allegedly working closely with Singer to facilitate the scam, according to the indictment.

Singer would allegedly instruct parents to seek extended time for the children to take entrance exams or obtain medical documentation that their child had a learning disability, according to the indictment. The parents were then told to get the location of the test changed to one of two testing centers, one in Houston and another in West Hollywood, California, where test administrators Niki Williams, 44, of Houston and Igor Dvorskiy, 52, of Sherman Oaks, California, helped carry out the scam, the indictment alleges.

Riddell, 36, allegedly either took ACT and SAT tests for students whose parents had paid bribes to Singer, according to the indictment. 

"Singer typically paid Riddell $10,000 for each student's test," according to the indictment. 

Those charged in the probe include nine coaches at elite schools, two SAT and ACT exam administrators, one exam proctor, a college administrator and 33 parents, including Huffman and Loughlin.
You know this reminds me of things I heard when I was at Morehouse. Imagine the lengths these wealthy people went to insuring their children got into elite universities. I can only imagine what these students did once they were there.

I've heard about grade inflation (that is you can find someone to bribe in the registrar's office to change your grades for example). Or outright cheating where one student got caught by one professor who was able to reverse allegedly the student's attempt to use Machiavelli to justify his misdeed. I remember I could've sworn one student had a stand-in for him to take a test so that he didn't have to attend class that day.

It's safe to say this story is a reminder about the inequalities that exist in this case we're talking about wealth.


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