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FBI college fraud investigation: the wildest stories from the college admissions inquiry

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The college admissions scandal that started with a wide-ranging investigation of wealthy parents paying to fraudulently get their kids into colleges and ended with indictments against actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, among others, has caused an uproar, and understandably so.

As I wrote on Tuesday:

The plot allegedly involved cheating on standardized testing exams like the ACT and having the children of wealthy parents falsely designated as athletes — even paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to make coaches claim the children were being recruited to play sports for their schools.

But the documentation provided by the government to provide legal backing for its investigation goes even further in showing just how baffling this alleged scheme was on virtually every level — and, allegedly, how effective it was at getting the kids of rich parents into top schools.

As part of the case, FBI special agent Laura Smith created an affidavit in support of the government’s complaint against the defendants, including Loughlin and Huffman. The document is roughly 200 pages long, rife with transcripts of conversations between the defendants and Rick Singer, the man at the center of the scandal who ran a for-profit college counseling business called Edge College & Career Network and a charity called the Key Worldwide Foundation. The foundation was allegedly used to launder money and funnel it from wealthy parents to college coaches, administrators and others, including Singer himself.

If we lived in a world of my own making, I would have shared screenshots of entire pages from the document, which you can read yourself here. But here are the most telling (and nonsensical) passages detailing how a massive scam to get rich kids into top colleges worked and how often the people who were supposed to benefit from it — the kids themselves — had no idea.

“And it works?” “Every time.”

In the document, Smith features transcripts of conversations between “CW-1” — short for “Cooperating Witness -1,” referring to Rick Singer — and the defendants who would be ultimately charged with fraud and other charges in the case.

(It’s worth noting that many of the conversations between Singer and his clients that are included in this affidavit took place after Singer had pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and money laundering racketeering charges and begun cooperating with the government. To get a lesser sentence, Singer then gave over reams of documentation and recorded phone calls with his clients. A word to the wise: If someone you have done crimes with calls you out of the blue, maybe don’t answer.)

The services Smith offered included faking their children’s SAT or ACT scores and creating fake athlete profiles and bribing college coaches to recruit them to their schools (and, in some cases, both). The pitch to parents from Singer, the affidavit explained, was that it had always worked.

Take this conversation between Singer and defendant Gordon Caplan. In the transcript featured in the affidavit, Singer tells Caplan that his plan to submit fraudulent test scores on behalf of the children of wealthy parents — sometimes by having someone else take the test for the child, other times by having the answers “corrected” by a test proctor whom Singer had paid — works “every time.”


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

Repeatedly throughout the affidavit, transcripts and recordings show Singer selling his services by bragging about how many times it has worked before. Some parents are even referred to Singer by other parents who have had success getting their children into universities because of his fraud.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

During this conversation with defendant Agustin Huneeus, a vineyard owner in California who wanted to get his daughter into the University of Southern California, Singer and Huneeus are discussing Singer’s alleged plan to falsely portray Huneeus’s daughter as a water polo player so that she can attend USC as a recruited athlete.

When Huneeus makes clear that his daughter isn’t talented enough to play water polo at USC, Singer says that the coach — Jovan Vavic, winner of 16 national titles in the sport — already knows that. And when Huneeus asks if there is any chance “this thing blows up in my face,” Singer responds that in 24 years, he’s never run into a problem.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

Perhaps part of why Singer’s alleged scheme proved so successful time and time again is because he attempted to make the fraudulent test scores and fake athlete profiles at least somewhat believable.

Take another excerpt from his conversation with Huneeus: The parent complains about whether his daughter’s faked SAT score (a 1380 out of a possible 1600) could have been higher. Singer responds that no, that wouldn’t have been workable, adding, “I would have got investigated for sure based on her grades,” alluding to the questions that may have arisen over an average student scoring a near-perfect score on the SAT.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

In return for more than $50,000, according to the affidavit, Singer then faked an athletic profile for Huneeus’s daughter that portrayed her as a top water polo player, even including a photograph that isn’t of her.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

When Singer’s foundation, which he allegedly used to funnel money from parents to the people he bribed to get kids into schools, was audited, he reached out to Huneeus and asked him to make sure not to tell anyone about the extremely illegal fraud they are now accused of. Huneeus responded, “Dude, dude, what do you think, I’m a moron?” before adding that he would tell the IRS that the donations he made were (ironically) to get underprivileged kids into college.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

The scam was far-ranging

Administrators and coaches at many of the schools involved in the alleged scheme were deeply enmeshed within it. Take Donna Heinel, who was senior associate athletic director at USC until she was fired on Tuesday. In return for more than $1.3 million in bribes over several years, Heinel allegedly helped funnel Singer’s clients’ children into USC.

After Singer’s team had created fake athletic profiles for students, Singer would then send those profiles to Heinel, who would present them to the subcommittee for athletic admissions as real recruited athletes.

Several of the transcripts included in the affidavit detail discussions between Singer and his clients as they tried to decide which sport they could fake their child being a top athlete in, like this conversation between Singer and defendant William “Bill” McGlashan about whether his son would be a believable football kicker.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

But of course, none of the students who were portrayed as recruits so that they could receive admission to USC were actually able to perform as athletes. In the case of the daughter of Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez, the affidavit notes that her application claimed she was a top club tennis player in high school while in actuality, she was decidedly not a top tennis player of any variety, ever.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

But Singer planned for that — and had Heinel and others to help him.

Take this conversation for example, in which Singer is speaking with Gamal Abdelaziz, a casino executive and Las Vegas resident who paid Singer hundreds of thousands of daughters to get his daughter into USC as a basketball player. Singer explains that while the admissions department at USC was beginning to ask questions about why his daughter wasn’t showing up for basketball practice, Heinel told them that his daughter had an “injury” and wouldn’t be able to play. All Singer needed was for Abdelaziz to keep their stories straight.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

The “side door”

The heart of the alleged scheme was Singer’s concept of creating a “side door” for college admissions. In his conversations with Gordon Caplan, Singer explained the “front door” to get into college was to do well academically and score high on standardized tests, and the “back door” was to endow a building or make a massive donation. He was introducing clients to the “side door” — a way for parents who were wealthy but not building-endowing wealthy to guarantee that their underachieving kids will attend the school of their choice.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

But it’s worth noting something else Singer says: Only he and the “side door” can do what neither the “back door” nor the “front door” can and guarantee that students are admitted to specific universities. As he says, “Everybody’s got a friend of a friend, who knows somebody who knows somebody, but there’s no guarantee, they’re just gonna give you a second look. My families want a guarantee.”

According to the authorities, Singer promised parents that their children would get into the school of their choice and that only he could back up that promise — through bribery, fraud, money laundering, and fake test scores and athletic profiles.

“He wants it that way”

Throughout the affidavit, the transcripts of Singer’s conversations seem to show that in some cases, students helped their parents with either getting someone else to take their SAT or ACT exam, or creating fake photographs of themselves playing a sport so that they could submit those fake athletic profiles to colleges.

Take defendant Devin Sloane, for example, who allegedly worked with his son to create just the right photo of him “playing” water polo with props purchased from Amazon so that Singer could create a fake athlete profile to send to Heinel at USC.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

But in other cases featured, the students in question seemingly had no idea that the scores they would ultimately receive on the ACT or SAT weren’t theirs. In his conversation with Caplan, for example, Singer says that his daughter “won’t even know that it happened” and adds that that system is ideal for children: “That’s the way you want it. They feel good about themselves.”


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

When Caplan says that he feels a little strange about the alleged plan — which involved misusing accommodations reserved for students with learning disabilities to give Singer’s clients’ children extra time on the SAT and ACT, thus making it easier to have someone else take the test — Singer tells him that “all the wealthy families” do it. It might feel weird and immoral, he essentially says, but it won’t matter once Caplan’s daughter gets that top score.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

But Caplan’s daughter didn’t seem to know about this alleged plan. As the affidavit shows, she took the ACT. In a conversation with Caplan, Singer describes the plan as follows: “So she’s going to take the test on her own, she’s going to do her best, all that stuff, and then we’re going to do our magic on the back end.” In other words, Caplan’s daughter was supposed to take the ACT, fully believing that the score she received was hers — but it wasn’t.


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

In another conversation with Huneeus, the client who got angry with Singer over his daughter’s (fake) SAT score, Huneeus references another Singer client, Bill McGlashan, and asks whether or not McGlashan’s son knows that his ACT score was fraudulent.

Singer tells Huneeus that no, his son doesn’t know — by his father’s request. “[McGlashan] has not been as forthcoming with you, and with his own kid, which is — he wants it that way.”


From the government’s affidavit supporting a criminal complaint, March 12, 2019.

So what have we learned from this criminal complaint?

That parents who took part in this alleged scheme seemed to be well aware of it was — fraud committed on a mass scale to get their kids into the schools of their choosing (or in the case of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli’s daughter, any school besides Arizona State University). That at least one university administrator and several coaches are accused of accepting bribes to funnel children into their school. That while some parents seemed to have worked with their children to fake photographs for fake athletic profiles that would be submitted to universities where bribed coaches would use them to get those children admitted, other parents seemingly kept their children in the dark about faking their ACT or SAT scores.

And we learned that while the world of college admissions is often dark and confusing, in this case, it was just plain baffling.

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16 Striking Photos That Can Touch Your Heart

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Photos keep our memories safe and every time we look at them we can immerse ourselves in the moments that have been captured in them. They can also help us to understand what’s really important in this world. And it doesn’t matter whether these photos are from your personal album or belong to somebody else. Their messages, feelings, and emotions can be perceived in one glance.

Here at Bright Side, we believe that the following photos will really touch your heart.

This couple has battled leukemia for 15 years since they were children. Now they’re husband and wife.

This fireman gave a cat that got hurt in a fire mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and saved it.

“My dad, who has dementia, trying to remember my name”

His owner passed away but the dog continues to sit near his bed and wait.

This is what depression looks like over 24 hours.

Have you ever seen a blind dog enjoying the sounds of a lake?

An Iranian girl cheers for her favorite football team from behind the fence since Iranian women aren’t allowed into stadiums.

“My mom painted dementia.”

When all you have is memories:

The 3 social classes in The Philippines in one photo

“My buddy, a glass blowing artist, used my dad’s ashes to make a keepsake marble I can take with me anywhere.”

“She gave me the best 11 years of her life and I can only hope that I was able to do the same thing for her.”

“A year ago, my little sister left this world. This weekend her heart recipient met my mom and shared her heart beat.”

“The moment your dog comes out of the fire you thought he died in”

“3 months ago we were told our newborn was blind. 2 weeks ago we found out the doctors were wrong. Today, she got her glasses.”

“I’m just so proud of you!”

Today my daughter graduated from pre-K. After the ceremony, my son walked up to her and gave her a hug. “I’m just so proud of you,” he said. Then, of course, my daughter started crying. As we wiped away our tears, my husband asked her, “Pumpkin, why are you crying?” She responded, “I’m just so happy.”

Each photo has its own story. Which of them touched you the most?

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Komünist Başkan, Aldığı Kararla Sosyal Medyada Trend Topic Oldu

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Mehmet Fatih Maçoğlu’nun belediye başkanı olduğu Tunceli Belediyesi Meclisi, ‘Tunceli’ yazan belediye tabelasının ‘Dersim’ olarak değiştirilmesine karar verdi. Bu karar sonrası Maçoğlu, sosyal medyada Trend Topic oldu.

Tunceli Belediye Başkanı TKP’li Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu başkanlığında belediye meclis üyeleri toplantısında alınan kararla Tunceli Belediyesi tabelasının ‘Dersim Belediyesi’ olarak değiştirilmesi kararı alındı. Karar tartışma yaratırken ‘DersimdeğilTunceli’ etiketi sosyal medyada Trend Topic oldu.

BELEDİYEDEN AÇIKLAMA YAPILDI

Belediyeden yapılan açıklamada Dersim ibaresiyle birlikte Zazaca ve Türkçe beleriye hizmetleri verileceği duyuruldu. Açıklamada şöyle denildi: “Kentimizin kültürü, tarihi ve inanç biçimini yaşatmak adına belediyemiz hizmet binasında bulunan tabelada yazılı ‘Tunceli’ ibaresinin değiştirilerek yerine ‘Dersim’ ibaresinin yazılması oy çokluğuyla kabul edildi. Haber

https://www.haberler.com/komunist-baskan-aldigi-kararla-sosyal-medyada-12077127-haberi/

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15 Random People Who Look So Much Like Celebrities, You May Want to Take a Photo With Them

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It’s not an easy goal to meet a real celebrity in our everyday life. Sometimes they are too busy with their activities or simply prefer to avoid public places. But when you see one right in front of you, don’t be too quick to jump over the moon and ask for a photo. Try to check their IDs first, because we are ready to show you that there are too many ordinary people who look just like stars and who probably wouldn’t miss a chance to pose and giggle afterward.

We at Bright Side compared photos of celebrities to their clones to demonstrate that this isn’t a joke. IDs first, photos after.

15. Kylie Jenner and Kristen Hancher, but which is which?

14. “My dad actually does Jack Nicholson lookalike work in Hollywood as a hobby.”

13. Breaking news! It seems Kim Kardashian has cloned herself.

12. “This fella lives in my house. I think James Franco and he follow each other on Instagram.”

11. “My sister always gets asked if she’s Julia Stiles.”

10. Nope, those aren’t just 2 pictures of Steve Buscemi!

9. Here’s chance for those who are upset that Michael Fassbender is married.

8. We’re just interested to see if Meghan Trainor’s double has the same talents.

7. We know this is pretty unexpected for Taylor Lautner, but we can’t unsee it.

6. This girl claims that she gets compared to Katy Perry daily.

5. When Chuck Norris is on vacation.

4. “Never mind, I’ll find someone like Adele.”

3. If Cobie Smulders doesn’t want to shoot How I Met Your Mother 10, there’s a perfect replacement out there.

2. Wait, so you’re saying that isn’t Zooey Deschanel on the right?

1. Even Zach Galifianakis and Jonah Hill can see this resemblance.

Do you have any friends who look exactly like movie stars? Show us their photos!

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