Operation Varsity Blues: All the celebrities involved in the college admissions scandal
The Netflix documentary has been released today and contains a lot of recognisable faces
Today Netflix has released Operation Varsity Blues, a documentary looking into the college admissions scandal – where a number of celebrities were among those arrested for being part of the crimes.
More than 50 people ended up being charged in the case, for crimes such as bribery, money laundering, and document fabrication to unfairly get students admitted to elite colleges in America. Some of these include famous faces, who were desperate to get their children into the best institutions so lied to and bribed those who could make that happen. The lies included pretending their children were good at sports and cheating on entrance exams.
The whole scheme was led by William “Rick” Singer, a college-prep professional, who pleaded guilty to the charges made against him. Parents are said to have paid Singer around $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators.
Here are all of the celebrities and well known names and CEOs who were part of the college admissions scandal and who has been found guilty so far.
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli
Among the most famous and the celebrities involved in the college admissions scandal is Full House actress, Lori Loughlin. She pleaded not guilty to the charges in April 2019 but switched her plea to guilty in May 2020. Lori was later sentenced to two months in prison, two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.
Mossimo Giannulli, Loughlin’s husband and the owner and fashion designer of the Mossimo clothing brand, also pleaded not guilty in April 2019 but switched his plea to guilty in May 2020. He was sentenced to five months in prison, two years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.
The pair have two daughters, and were accused of paying $500,000 to get them both into USC. One of their daughters is YouTuber and influencer Olivia Jade. It was found they had Olivia Jade pose on a rowing machine and sent it to William Singer to get her accepted into college as a rower.
Also among the college admission scandal celebrities is the Desperate Housewives and American Crime actress, Felicity Huffman. Huffman pleaded guilty in April 2019 and then did so formally in court in May 2019. She was also a parent in the case, and was accused of getting her daughter extra time and paying $15,000 to have her daughter’s test scores changed.
Huffman pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest service mail fraud. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison, 250 hours of community service, one year supervised release and received a $30,000 fine.
Douglas Hodge received the harshest of sentences out of all the parents involved in the scandal. The Former CEO of Pimco, a top investment firm, was sentenced to nine months in prison, two years supervised release, 500 hours of community service and a $750,000 fine.
His sentence was so harsh as prosecutors say he paid bribes to get at least four of his seven children into top US universities and tried to do so with a fifth child. It was argued he was much more deeper involved, and for a longer amount of time, than any of the other parents.
Douglas Hodge paid bribes of $850,000 over nearly 11 years to get two of his children into Georgetown University and two others into the University of Southern California. He also paid to have their skills and qualifications altered. The $325,000 Hodge paid for a son and his eldest daughter to enter Georgetown University went to the school’s tennis coach. He then paid $525,000 to have another daughter and son admitted to the University of Southern California as soccer and football recruits.
Gamel Abdelaziz (Gamal Aziz) is an Egyptian-born hotel and casino executive who has worked for Wynn Resorts and is the CEO of MGM Resorts International.
He was accused of donating $300,000 to a college in order to facilitate the falsification of his daughter’s athletic honours as well as a false athletic profile. His daughter was later accepted into the University of Southern California as a basketball recruit. He was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering and pleaded not guilty.
Another of the well known parents is Hot Pockets heiress, Michelle Janavs. She was sentenced to five months in prison for paying $300,000 to get her two daughters into prestigious schools as part of the college admissions scandal. She was also given two years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
The former executive at a food manufacturer pleaded guilty in October 2019, after being accused of paying Rick Singer $200,000 to have one of her daughters labelled as a beach volleyball recruit at the University of Southern California. She also paid $100,000 to have her other daughter’s entrance exam altered.
Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez
Manuel Henriquez is the former founder, chairman, and CEO of Hercules Capital, an investment firm. He pleaded guilty in October 2019 after being charged with paying $450,000 for his daughters’ to be supplied with answers to college entrance exams and to bribe a coach at Georgetown University. He was sentenced in July 2020 to six months in prison and ordered to pay a $200,000 fine and perform 200 hours of community service.
His wife was sentenced to seven months in prison as well. It was said in the trial that Manuel was a “less active participant in the mechanics of the fraud” than his wife, Elizabeth.
Jane Buckingham is an author and businesswoman who founded Trendera, a boutique marketing firm. She is known for writing “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life” a self-help book series, which was then created into a television series of the same name. She was convicted in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal after pleading guilty in May 2019.
She was accused of paying $50,000 to cheat on her son’s college entrance exam and was sentenced to three weeks in prison. She was also given one year supervised release and a $40,000 fine.
Gordon Caplan, a co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, was among the first parents to plead guilty in the scandal. He agreed his plea in April 2019 and then did so formally in court in May 2019. He was sentenced to one month in prison, 250 hours of community service, one year supervised release, and a $50,000 fine.
He paid $75,000 to have his daughters exam papers changed.
William E. McGlashan Jr. (Bill McGlashan) is an American businessman and former international private equity investor. He is an executive at and founded TPG Growth, a global private equity investment firm. He pleaded guilty in February 2021 to paying Rick Singer $50,000 to have his son’s exams altered. If the judge accepts his guilty plea, it is thought he will be sentenced to three months in prison and pay a $250,000 fine.
Not everyone arrested in the college admissions scandal were celebrities. Others involved included more wealthy business men and women, a physician and a vineyard owner – all of which were parents who got their children accepted into colleges. As well as parents, college athletics staff and admissions staff were put on trial for their involvement.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, quizzes, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.