FBI agents uncovered a $25 million nationwide college admission cheating scandal by accident while working on an unrelated security fraud case.

Agents quickly homed in on the financial executive connected to the security fraud case, who said he was willing to cooperate with authorities. He gave investigators a tip unrelated to the fraud case; a Yale University women’s soccer coach had asked him for a bribe to get his daughter admitted into an elite school.

The executive began wearing a recording device for the FBI during his meetings with the coach, which quickly spiraled into authorities uncovering a massive admissions scandal, where wealthy parents bribed coaches to admit their children into top colleges.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling had this to say about the discovery, “Our first lead in this came during interviews with a target of an entirely separate investigation, who gave us a tip that this activity might be going on.”


The mastermind behind the scheme, William Singer, operated two admissions counseling companies that created a “side door” for wealthy parents to pay their children into elite colleges. These schemes include: having people take SAT and ACT exams for their children, bribing sports coaches to designate student applicants as recruits, and having parents donate money to charities created by Singer that would funnel the money to coaches. Singer started cooperating with authorities and wore a wire to help them obtain evidence.

Through the course of this investigation, 50 people have been indicted including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

The universities embroiled in the admission scam have promised to remove any student connected to the scandal from the school.


“If UCLA discovers that any prospective, admitted or enrolled student has misrepresented any aspect of his/her application, or that information about the applicant has been withheld, UCLA may take a number of disciplinary actions, up to and including cancellation of admission,” a statement released by UCLA.

Singer has been charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He could face up to 20 years in prison.

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