March 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. college admissions scandal that erupted this week has triggered private litigation accusing rich, well-connected parents of buying spots for their children at prestigious schools, and keeping children of less wealthy parents out.
A $500 billion civil lawsuit filed by a parent on Wednesday in San Francisco accused 45 defendants of defrauding and inflicting emotional distress on everyone whose “rights to a fair chance at entrance to college” were stolen through their alleged conspiracy.
In the largest known college admissions scandal in U.S. history, federal prosecutors on Tuesday said a California company made about $25 million by charging parents to secure spots for their children in elite schools, including Georgetown, Stanford and Yale, by cheating the admissions process.
Maybe this is why Gregory and Marcia Abbott allegedly bought their daughter’s way into college.
Their “rapper” son, Malcolm, popped out of the family’s Fifth Avenue building to smoke a giant blunt — while defending his parents and bragging about his latest CD.
“They’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion,” said Malcolm Abbott outside the home that overlooks the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “I believe everyone has a right to go to college, man.”
In between drags, Malcolm, whose father is the founder of food and beverage distributor International Dispensing Corp., admitted, “I didn’t go to college.”
The toker, who sports a ponytail and raps under the name “Billa,” then shamelessly plugged his music. “Check out my CD, ‘Cheese and Crackers,’ ” he said of his 2018 five-track record that includes a song titled “If I Lost My Money.”
Their parents face criminal charges, with federal prosecutors alleging massive fraud to get them into some of America’s most elite schools.
But it’s still unclear what is going to happen to the children who were the beneficiaries of what prosecutors called the largest college admissions scam ever uncovered.
Federal prosecutors allege cheating on standardized tests, bribery and faking athletic achievements to get into college — the types of misdeeds that would lead to serious discipline. But in many cases, they said, the students did not know about the arrangements their parents made.
Administrators at UCLA and USC said this week they are reviewing student admission decisions after discovering that dozens of families paid huge sums to gain access to at least eight exclusive schools, including theirs, through bribes and lies. Among the parents charged were Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman, of “Desperate Housewives,” and Lori Loughlin, of “Full House.”
A USC spokesman said Wednesday that students who applied for admission in the current cycle — which is underway for fall admits — and are tied to the scheme will be denied admission. That includes about half a dozen applicants.
The school will also conduct a case-by-case review for current students and graduates who may have taken part in the scheme.
“We will make informed, appropriate decisions once those reviews have been completed,” USC spokesman Eddie North-Hager said in a statement.
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