Everything you need to know about the US college cheating scandal

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Full House star Lori Loughlin are among 50 people who have been charged in a downright bizarre $25 million college entrance cheating scheme in the US.

According to reports, more than 200 FBI agents worked on the case (code-named Operation Varsity Blues) allegedly uncovering documents showing that dozens of parents paid thousands in bribes to get their children into top colleges like Yale and Stanford.

What exactly happened?

Multiple reports say some of the parents allegedly involved spent between $200,000 to $6.5 million to ensure that their children received guaranteed admission at the schools of their choice, John Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in charge, said.

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The scheme's mastermind, William Rick Singer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, admitting, "I am absolutely responsible for it. I put everything in place. I put all the people in place and made the payments directly." He then apparently wore a wire to expose the scheme.

Uncovered was a network of wealthy parents who "paid thousands of dollars to a California man who boosted their children's chances of gaining entrance into elite colleges, such as Yale and Stanford, by paying people to take tests for their children, bribing test administrators to allow that to happen, and bribing college coaches to identify the applicants as athletes."

Who is involved?

Desperate Housewives star Huffman, along with Full House actress Loughlin, are among the most well-known public figures facing charges; Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in “exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC (University of Southern California) crew team,” while Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, are accused of paying a $15,000 bribe to get their daughter a higher SAT score.

Huffman was taken into federal custody; her husband has not been indicted and a warrant is out for Loughlin who was not in LA at the time the charges were made.

Both actresses were reportedly charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.

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Prosecutors said they have not charged any of the students, though it is unclear what will happen to their college places.

“Aunt Becky,” a reference to Loughlin’s character on Full House, began trending almost immediately on social media.

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Main photograph: @Variety


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