Guidance counselors raised red flags in college admissions scam

A parent in the largest college admissions scheme ever prosecuted is expected to plead guilty today. Los Angeles businessman Devin Sloane is alleged to have paid the scheme’s mastermind, Rick Singer, $250,000 to get his son into USC as a water polo recruit even though the teen didn’t play the sport.

When a high school guidance counselor questioned the sports credentials, one of Singer’s alleged accomplices at USC stepped in. Prosecutors say she then lied to the admissions office in an email, saying Sloane’s son was an “attack perimeter player” who competed in summer leagues in Italy, Greece, Serbia and Portugal.

Prosecutors say a guidance counselor also raised red flags about the applications for Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannuli’s daughters, who were admitted to USC as crew recruits. But Giannuli allegedly met with the counselor and shut down the concerns.

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannuli are charged in the college admissions scandal. CBS News

“What this shows is that people who feel that they have rank and privilege and money think that they can do anything, and that’s what makes people so upset about this case,” said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman.

Loughlin and Giannuli plan to plead not guilty.

One of the most well-known figures in the scandal is due back in federal court in Boston today. Felicity Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT.

Huffman is expected to admit to a federal judge today that she broke the law, reports correspondent Carter Evans. In a statement, the actress had expressed “deep regret and shame … My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions … This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life.”

Huffman was one of the first parents to agree to plead guilty, which legal analysts say could work in her favor. Prosecutors have recommended she pay a $20,000 fine and serve four to ten months behind bars.

“Felicity Huffman has been the model defendant in this case,” said Klieman. “The judge has every right and ability to give her less than that, including probation or community service, or to give her more than that.”

Huffman is set to be sentenced in the next few months.

Meanwhile, the story of the “Varsity Blues” scheme is expected to live on in Hollywood; a production company plans to turn the scandal into a limited TV series.

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