college admissions scandal

College Admission Scam Involved Photoshopping Rich Kids’ Heads Onto Athletes’ Bodies

Hello to our in-house attorney reading this post. Here’s where I note this is not a real photo from the college scandal case. Photo-Illustration: Konstantin Sergeyev/Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

Today’s news about a college admission bribery scandal has everything: huge dollar signs, like paying $1.2 million to get your kid into Yale; celebrities, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, being charged with fraud. (Forty-four people have been charged in total.) The court filings are pages and pages long, but if I had to pick a favorite detail (a favorite selected rapidly, as it takes time to read pages and pages of filings) it would be this anecdote about the bizarre mechanics of pretending kids were sports recruits to get them admitted. Specifically, using Photoshop to create athletic profiles for kids who didn’t actually play sports.

The profiles were submitted to schools as part of the application process. “In some instances, parents assisted CW-1 in creating the fabricated profiles, including by supplying staged photographs of their children engaged in athletic activity,” court documents explain. (CW-1 is Cooperating Witness 1, who founded and ran the organizations behind the scam.) “In other instances, CW-1 and his associates simply found photos of athletes on the Internet and either used those photos or used software such as Photoshop to insert applicants’ faces onto the bodies of legitimate athletes.”

Excuse me while I scrape myself up from the floor of my cubicle where I am rolling around laughing at the thought of some wealthy kid’s head crudely stitched onto, like, Ryan Lochte’s body. (To be clear, I have no idea what these photos actually looked like and presumably they looked seamless. But still, I’m laughing.) Full House actress Lori Loughlin allegedly “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team,” ABC 7 News reports. Neither of the daughters actually rowed.

On second thought, it’s actually a toss-up as to what my favorite filing detail is. The Photoshop bit is certainly a contender, but then there’s also this part where Felicity Huffman, of Desperate Housewives fame, purportedly used the phrase “Ruh Ro!” after her daughter’s school wanted to proctor her SAT.

Ruh ro, indeed.

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