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The High-Powered Names In The College Admissions Bribery Scandal

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced dozens of charges related to a massive college admissions bribery scheme, involving big names from Hollywood actresses to Wall Street and Silicon Valley executives. Documents describe a scheme in which wealthy parents paid a company to help their children cheat on college entrance exams or bribe athletic recruiters. Several Division 1 athletic coaches are among the cooperating witnesses in the investigation.

Here are some of the high-powered people allegedly involved.

Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman

The actress, best known for her role on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” allegedly participated in a scheme involving making a fake charitable donation to a company that purported “to provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.”

In reality, the company enabled participants’ children to cheat on the ACT or SAT, such as falsely claiming that their children had learning disabilities to get special accommodations like extended time. The students then could take the exam “over two days instead of one, and in an individualized setting.”

When administering the test, the company bribed test administrators and hired a third party “to serve as a purported proctor for the exams while providing students with the correct answers, or to review and correct the students’ answers after they completed the exams. In many instances, the students taking the exams were unaware that their parents had arranged for this cheating.”

The company then sent the “doctored exams” back to the testing companies.

The indictment alleges that Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, who was not charged Tuesday, paid $15,000 to the fake charity to enable their elder daughter to cheat on the SAT. They later began making the arrangement for their younger daughter “but ultimately decided not to.”

Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin

Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli

The “Full House” actress and fashion designer allegedly participated in the scheme involving fake athletic recruiting. According to the indictment, the couple paid $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California by having them “designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.”

As part of this, the company created a fake profile of their younger daughter that “would present [her] falsely, as a crew coxswain for the L.A. Marina Club team. The couple sent an “Action Picture” of her on an ergometer to create the appearance that she was a rower.

Gordon Caplan

Caplan, a private equity lawyer at New York firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, also allegedly participated in the cheating scheme, paying $75,000 to the company to help his daughter cheat on the ACT.

Last year, American Lawyer magazine named him a “Dealmaker of the Year.”

Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez

The indictment alleges that the couple used the scheme “on four separate occasions” to help their two daughters cheat on the exams. They also participated in the athletic recruiting scheme, bribing the head coach of tennis at Georgetown University and falsely portraying their elder daughter as a highly ranked high school tennis player.

In reality, the indictment notes that “at her best, she appears to have ranked 207th in Northern California in the under-12 girls division, with an overall win/loss record of 2-8.”

Manuel Henriquez is the founder and CEO of Hercules Capital, a Silicon Valley investment firm. According to Bloomberg, he earned an estimated $8.2 million in 2017.

Bill McGlashan

McGlashan founded TPG Growth, a private equity firm that has invested in companies like Spotify, Uber and Airbnb. He also co-founded STX Entertainment, known for producing midlevel Hollywood movies, including “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Molly’s Game” and, most recently, the Kevin Hart comedy “The Upside.”

According to the indictment, Rick Singer, who orchestrated the scheme and led the company behind it, told McGlashan that his son’s doctor “should come up with stuff, discrepancies, to show why he needs multiple days. That he can’t sit six and a half hours taking one test,” he said in a phone call, while wearing a wire to cooperate with federal investigators.

“Perfect,” McGlashan replied, according to the transcript of the call.

McGlashan also participated in the scheme to help his son get accepted to USC as a recruited athlete.

“I’ll pick a sport and we’ll do a picture of him, or he can, we’ll put his face on the picture whatever. Just so that he plays whatever,” Singer said.

“Well, we have images of him in lacrosse. I don’t know if that matters,” McGlashan replied.

“They don’t have a lacrosse team. But as long as I can see him doing
something, that would be fine,” Singer said.

Later, they settled on falsely portraying McGlashan’s son as a football punter, with McGlashan providing a photo of an NFL player for the company to alter.

“That’s just totally hilarious,” McGlashan said.

Gamal Abdelaziz

A hotel and casino mogul, Abdelaziz worked as a senior executive for MGM Resorts. From 2013 to 2016, he oversaw the Macau division of Wynn Resorts, founded by Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn (who stepped down in 2018 after sexual harassment allegations).

The federal investigators allege that Abdelaziz tried to get his daughter recruited as a star basketball player for admission at USC, working with Singer to create a profile containing “falsified honors” like “Asia Pacific Activities Conference All Star Team,” “2016 China Cup Champions,” “Hong Kong Academy team MVP” and “Team Captain.” 

Abdelaziz allegedly paid Singer’s company $300,000 as a fake charitable donation. Through Singer, he arranged to bribe USC’s senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, with Singer and Heinel concealing the money as a gift to the school’s basketball arena, according to the indictment. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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