/A dozen defendants head to court Monday in biggest-ever college admissions cheating scandal

A dozen defendants head to court Monday in biggest-ever college admissions cheating scandal

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The college admissions scam involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman shows how some rich families use a “side door” to game an already unfair education system.
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BOSTON – Twelve people accused of crimes in the nation’s largest-ever college admissions bribery case are set to make their initial federal court appearances in Boston on Monday. 

Twenty-three additional defendants are scheduled to appear in court Friday in the city, where the explosive nationwide case is being led.

Monday’s slate includes six college athletic coaches, one associate college athletics director, two ACT/SAT test administrators and two people who prosecutors say worked with William “Rick Singer, the alleged ringleader of the cheating and bribery scheme. 

It marks the largest gathering of defendants in the same court so far in the historic case. 

Each defendant faces racketeering conspiracy charges as well as racketeering forfeiture allegations. Four are former employees of the University of Southern California. Coaches from Wake Forest University, Georgetown University an the University of California-Los Angeles are set to appear as well. 

More: Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman won’t be in court with other college-admissions scam defendants

Fifty people have been charged overall in the sweeping federal case that was brought March 12 by the Justice Department. Several have already gone to court in the federal districts where they were arrested, but the case is now shifting to federal court here. 

Federal prosecutors say that rich and powerful parents of under-qualified students paid “enormous sums” to Singer to either have someone cheat on their ACT or SAT exams or to pay off athletic coaches who accepted their children on their teams even if they didn’t play the sport.

More: A Yale soccer coach caught in a sting: How the FBI broke open the sweeping college admission scandal

On Friday, an additional 23 defendants, all parents accused of crimes in the case, are scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston. The group was originally set to include the case’s two highest-profile defendants, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, but their court appearances are now scheduled for April 3.


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A judge granted requests for different court dates from both women as well as Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, last week.  They cited scheduling conflicts.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying bribes of $500,000 to get their daughters in to the University of Southern California. They had originally asked for a delay until the week of April 15, but that request was denied. 

Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 that she disguised as a charitable donation so that her daughter could take part in the entrance-exam cheating scam.

More: USC to deny students connected to cheating scheme class registration, transcripts as their status is frozen

Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli each appear before U.S. District Court Judge Page Kelley.

The defendants appearing Monday are each of those charged by indictment. Most of the 33 parents accused of paying to cheat or lie their way into college have been charged in a separate complaint.

An additional four defendants, including Singer and Mark Riddell, who allegedly took tests for students, have been charged individually by information.

Here’s who is set to appear in federal court Monday. Some are no longer in the positions they had when they allegedly committed the crimes. 

  • Gordon Ernst, former tennis head coach at Georgetown University
  • Donna Heinel, senior associate athletics director at the University of Southern California
  • Ali Khosroshahin, women’s soccer head coach at University of Southern California
  • Laura Janke, a former assistant coach of women’s soccer at the University of Southern California
  • Jovan Vavic, water polo head coach at University of Southern California
  • Jorge Salcedo, head coach of men’s soccer at UCLA
  • William Ferguson, women’s volleyball coach at Wake Forest University
  • Niki Williams, an assistant teacher at a Houston public high school and a standardized test administrator for the ACT exam and the College Board, which oversees the SAT exam
  • Martin Fox, president of a private tennis academy in Houston, who allegedly accepted a bribe to introduce Singer to a tennis coach at the University of Texas who Singer then reportedly paid to admit a student as a purported athletic recruit
  • Igor Dvorskiy, director of a private elementary school and high school in Los Angeles and a test administrator for the ACT exam and the College Board
  • Steven Masera, a resident of Folsom, California, and an accountant and financial advisor for Edge College and Career Network and for The Key Worldwide Foundation, the nonprofit overseen by Singer
  • Mikaela Sanford, a resident of Sacramento, California, employed at Edge College and Career Network and the Key Worldwide Foundation



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