It’s going to be quite some time before we know all the consequences of Operation Varsity Blues, a sting that ended with 50 people being charged for their involvement in a bribery and cheating scheme to get unqualified children into top colleges. Detailed in hundreds of court documents — you can read our comprehensive breakdown of which kids knew what here — each parent has been charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of honest services mail fraud. Court proceedings and potential sentencing will take some time. But for some families involved, the fallout has already begun. We’ll be updating this post with all the latest developments, as the dust settles.
Wake Forest Will Lets Scammer Student Remain
“At this time, we do not plan to take any action against her when there is no evidence she had any knowledge of the alleged financial transaction,” said Katie Neal, a Wake Forest spokesperson, regarding a current student who was admitted through the scheme.
Yale Rescinds an Admission Offer
An anonymous student, listed in court documents as Yale Applicant 1, has had their admission to the university rescinded. The student’s family paid $1.2 million in bribes to have the student admitted as a purported soccer recruit with an endorsement from coach Rudy Meredith. (Another student who also applied via the soccer scheme was ultimately denied admission.) The student was, according to CNN, already attending Yale when the school rescinded their admission.
The Giannullis Are Still Enrolled at USC
Despite previous reports from sources close to the family that Olivia Jade, daughter of Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin, would not return to USC, the school has confirmed both she and her sister, Isabella, are still enrolled. It’s unclear if this means either will actually continue attending classes.
Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Out of a Job
Chris Schaepe, a founding partner at Lightspeed Ventures, has been removed from his position at the firm for his involvement in Operation Varsity Blues. Thought Schaepe did not “knowingly participate in any bribery schemes,” Axios reports, he did hire Rick Singer — the man charged with running the scheme — to help his son get into college. The plan was originally to have Schaepe’s son manage the University of Texas basketball team, but that was nixed after coach Rick Barnes was fired in 2015. Instead, Singer introduced Schaepe to the UT men’s tennis coach, Michael Center, who “helped to get Schaepe’s son a letter of intent to join the school.” (Sources say he was to manage the tennis team, rather than play on it.) Schaepe, who donated $630,000 to Singer’s so-called nonprofit, has not been charged.
Some Parents Negotiate Possible Guilty Pleas
Sources told the Wall Street Journal that at least some of the parents charged in Operation Varsity Blues are negotiating for a possible guilty plea. “Prison time may be included in pre-indictment plea deals, the people said. Nearly all the 33 parents accused in the case face a single charge of conspiring to commit what is known as honest-services fraud. Most haven’t been indicted,” the Journal reports. The sources did not name which parents are considering this option.
Gordon Caplan to Plead Guilty
After being charged in Operation Varisty Blues, Caplan was placed on leave from his role as co-chairman of mega law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Caplan announced he intends to plead guilty to the charges, according to a statement circulated by his attorney. “I take full and sole responsibility for my conduct and I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and my actions,” Caplan said in a statement. “I apologize not only to my family, friends, colleagues and the legal Bar, but also to students everywhere who have been accepted to college through their own hard work,” Caplan wrote. “I want to make clear that my daughter, whom I love more than anything in the world, is a high school junior and has not yet applied to college, much less been accepted by any school. She had no knowledge whatsoever about my actions, has been devastated to learn what I did and has been hurt the most by it.”
Stanford Expels Student
Stanford announced it rescinded the admission of an anonymous female student admitted via the college admissions scheme. Her application included faked sailing records, the Stanford Daily reports, and a $500,000 donation to the university’s sailing program. The head sailing coach, John Vandemoer, was fired after pleading guilty to accepting such donations.
Felicity Huffman and 13 Others Plead Guilty
Fourteen of the people charged in Operation Varsity Blues, including Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. “Prosecutors, as part of a plea deal, agreed to recommend a prison term at the ‘low end’ of the four to ten months Huffman faces under federal sentencing guidelines. She also agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and restitution,” Reuters reports.
Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty
While other parents charged in the scheme have opted to plead guilty, Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli pleaded not guilty on Monday. “They also waived their right to appear in court for an arraignment on a money laundering charge, according to the signed documents,” CNN reports. The pair previously rejected a plea deal where they would have faced 18 to 24 months of jail time. “They weren’t ready to accept that,” a source close to the couple’s case told People. “They’re really not seeing how serious this is.”