Today has not been a great day for rich white ladies trying to bend the rules to their favor. Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were both caught in a college admissions bribery scheme that is off the rails insane and could land them in prison for a long time. It won’t, neither is likely to spend a single day in prison, but they could potentially face years.
Both actresses actions were a little different, so let me go over what happened. Let’s start with Huffman (and William H. Macy, who is mentioned but unindicted). What Felicity Huffman did was pay 15,000 to a fake charity in exchange for helping her daughter cheat on the SAT. They sent the girl to an SAT proctor who was in on the scheme, got her extra time with a fake disability, fed her answers and corrected wrong answers on her test after she handed it it in. Her score went up 400 points from the PSATs. It’s kind of boring, honestly, just run of the mill cheating.
Luckily, Lori Loughlin’s story is much more interesting. She and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who was also arrested, paid half a million dollars to have their two daughters recruited by the USC crew team. That’s rowing. She pretended to be a coxswain, which is a real thing. They even staged photos of them on rowing machines to show the admissions board.
This was apparently pretty common, faking admissions on the basis of joining some team in a sport no one has ever heard of like crew or lacrosse or soccer.
In case you were worried, though, the Department of Justice wants to make sure you know that this is different from donating a building to a college, that’s still perfectly legal.
By the way, that’s how Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, got into Harvard; his dad donated 2.5 million to the school. This is entirely legal, by the way. So if you want to bribe your kid’s way into the Ivies, make sure you’re writing the bribe directly to the school; bribing an intermediary to cheat is still illegal. College admissions are tricky like that.