Shop Irish this Christmas: What Siobhan Lam of April in the Bear in Rathmines is gifting this year
Shop Irish this Christmas: What Siobhan Lam of April in the Bear in Rathmines is...

Lauren Heskin

Holy-grail products that will help you fake a natural tan… even in winter
Holy-grail products that will help you fake a natural tan… even in winter

Sarah Finnan

These Donal Skehan Christmas sausage rolls are my most-requested Christmas recipe
These Donal Skehan Christmas sausage rolls are my most-requested Christmas recipe

Lauren Heskin

Danish shoppers had a sleepover in an IKEA store and it’s very ‘500 Days of Summer’
Danish shoppers had a sleepover in an IKEA store and it’s very ‘500 Days of...

Sarah Finnan

This terraced home in Sandycove with sea views is on the market for €2.15 million
This terraced home in Sandycove with sea views is on the market for €2.15 million

Megan Burns

Maneuvering the crazy politics of the family Kris Kindle
Maneuvering the crazy politics of the family Kris Kindle

Sophie White

Why should skincare stop at your face? Here’s how to give your entire body some TLC
Why should skincare stop at your face? Here’s how to give your entire body some...

IMAGE

‘This is probably my last Christmas. I wanted it to be meaningful. The pandemic has taken so much from me’
‘This is probably my last Christmas. I wanted it to be meaningful. The pandemic has...

Amanda Cassidy

‘Watching the Christmas shopping rush, it’s easy to feel like if you aren’t spoiling your kids, you’re doing it wrong’
‘Watching the Christmas shopping rush, it’s easy to feel like if you aren’t spoiling your...

Amanda Cassidy

WIN a magnum bottle of Moët Brut Impérial champagne and four gold goblets
WIN a magnum bottle of Moët Brut Impérial champagne and four gold goblets

IMAGE

Image / Living / Culture

Here’s a first look at the new documentary behind the 2019 College Admissions Scandal


By Jennifer McShane
14th Mar 2021
Here’s a first look at the new documentary behind the 2019 College Admissions Scandal

Using real conversations recreated from FBI wiretaps, Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal takes you right into the heart of the bizarre events.

Netflix has dropped a preview of a new must-see documentary into the methods used by Rick Singer, the man at the centre of the shocking 2019 college admissions scandal, to persuade his wealthy clients to cheat an educational system already designed to benefit the privileged.

Using an innovative combination of interviews and narrative recreations of the FBI’s wiretapped conversations between Singer and his clients, Operation Varsity Blues offers a rare glimpse into the enigmatic figure behind a scheme that exposed the lengths wealthy families would go to for admission into elite colleges. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Full House star Lori Loughlin were among people charged in a downright bizarre $25 million college entrance cheating scheme in the US.

More than 200 FBI agents worked on the case (code-named Operation Varsity Blues) 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 said at the time 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.

The scheme’s mastermind, William Rick Singer, pleaded guilty when charged, 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 was involved?

Desperate Housewives star Huffman, along with Full House actress Loughlin, were among the most well-known public figures facing charges; Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were 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, were accused of paying a $15,000 bribe to get their daughter a higher SAT score.

Huffman was taken into federal custody and served prison time; her husband was not indicted and Loughlin and her husband pleaded guilty to their role in the sweeping scandal, admitting that they forked over $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California.

Social media was awash with memes at the time, when “Aunt Becky,” a reference to Loughlin’s character on Full House, began trending almost immediately after news of the scandal broke.

You can watch the trailer for the Netflix documentary below: