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TV Stars Charged in College Admissions Scandal

The college admissions scandal dominating the news cycle involves a few highly visible TV stars. Lori Loughlin, who stars in Fuller House on Netflix and in various Hallmark projects, is accused of having her daughters classified as crew recruits for the University of Southern California, despite the youths not taking part in crew. Felicity Huffman, whose work includes Transamerica, Desperate Housewives, Sports Night and American Crime, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. She is accused of giving $15,000 to a bogus charity for disadvantaged youth, money that was used for bribery.

Huffman stars in the Netflix series When They See Us, about the Central Park Five. That four-part series comes out May 31.

The Justice Department has charges against 50 people in six states, according to the New York Times. Central to the case is William Singer, founder of college prep firm Edge College & Career Network. Singer allegedly accepted some $25 million from parents of children hoping to get into elite colleges. The money went to bribe sports coaches and college administrators.

Hallmark did not comment on Loughlin. Netflix did not comment on either Loughlin or Huffman.

Loughlin was taken into custody by the FBI Wednesday. She is expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles later in the day. Loughlin’s Hallmark projects include series When Calls the Heart and the Garage Sale Mystery films. Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, was also charged. Loughlin plays Aunt Becky on Fuller House, a role she also played on Full House.

Huffman is married to Shameless star William H. Macy, who was not indicted.

When They See Us, from Ava DuVernay, is about the five teens wrongly charged with a rape in New York in 1989. Huffman plays prosecutor Linda Fairstein.

Some parents involved in the case claimed their children had learning disabilities, which allowed them more time to take standardized tests. Singer had bribed officials to fill in correct answers on the students’ tests.

Others were charged with racketeering conspiracy, mostly coaches who allegedly recruited the children of the mail fraud suspects to athletic teams for which they were not qualified. They included a former tennis coach at Georgetown, a former women's volleyball coach at Wake Forest, as well as the former senior associate athletic director at USC.

--Additional reporting by John Eggerton

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.