Several Celebrities Were Involved in Operation Varsity Blues — Here Are Some You May Know
Netflix's Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal uncovers the role that wealth and power had in the infamous 2019 college bribery scandal. Wealthy parents, many of whom were leading names in entertainment and business, paid off college counselor William "Rick" Singer, who would then bribe test administrators and university officials to secure positions at elite schools.
The scandal garnered even more attention when it came out that actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were caught up in Singer's schemes. They weren't the only ones — there were a total of 33 parents involved in the notorious situation. Ahead, we rounded up the most well-known celebrities and business executives in the college admission scandal and broke down their involvements.
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli
Both Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were implicated in bribing Singer to place their daughters, Olivia Jade and Bella Rose, into USC. Olivia Jade and Bella Rose were placed into USC with falsified records about them being rowing athletes. Loughlin is best known for playing Aunt Becky on Full House, and Giannulli is known for his namesake clothing brand (which previously sold at Target). Olivia Jade is a YouTube influencer who previously collaborated with brands like Sephora.
Loughlin received two months in prison, two years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and a $150,000 fine. Her husband was sentenced to five months in prison, two years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, and a $250,000 fine. Olivia Jade and Bella Rose are no longer USC students.
Felicity Huffman, best known for her role as Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives, pleaded guilty early after the Operation Varsity Blues scandal broke. She paid Singer to find a person to pose as and take the SAT for her daughter Sophia. Huffman received a 14-day prison sentence, 250 hours of community service, one year of supervised release, and a $30,000 fine. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was never indicted. Sophia, who reportedly didn't know about the plan, later took the SAT and was accepted into Carnegie Mellon University.
Hot Pockets heiress and former food company executive Michelle Janavs admitted to paying $100,000 so that someone could cheat on her daughters' ACT exams. She also agreed to pay $200,000 to have one of her daughters admitted to USC as a fake volleyball recruit. In February 2020, she received a five-month prison sentence with two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.
Formerly a University of British Columbia and Canadian Football League football player, David Sidoo is now known as a businessman and philanthropist. He paid $200,000 for a test writer to use fake credentials and impersonate his sons to take their SATs. In July 2020, he was sentenced to three months in prison with one year of supervised release and mandated to pay a $250,000 fine.
Bill McGlashan, the founder of The Rise Fund and a former senior executive at TPG Growth, also became implicated in Singer's schemes. Singer bribed a test administrator to allow a private counselor to correct McGlashan's son's ACT exam for a higher score. McGlashan is set to be sentenced on May 12, 2021, after pleading guilty on Feb. 10, 2021. Regarding his sentence, the justice department has recommended three months in prison, two years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service, and a $250,000 fine.
Author Jane Buckingham admitted to paying Singer $50,000 so that he could bribe a test proctor to take the ACT exam for her son in Texas. She is the CEO of the California marketing firm Trendera and is best known for writing The Modern Girl's Guide to Life. In October 2019, she was sentenced to three weeks in prison with one year of supervised release and charged a fine of $40,000.