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Actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin among 50 charged in US college fraud scheme

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Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 50 people charged by U.S. federal prosecutors on Tuesday in a $25 million scheme to help wealthy Americans cheat their children’s way into elite universities, such as Yale and Stanford.

Federal prosecutors in Boston charged William “Rick” Singer, 58, with running the racketeering scheme through his Edge College & Career Network. His network served a roster of clients including actresses and chief executives.

Prosecutors said Singer’s operation arranged for fake testers to take college admissions exams in place of his clients’ children, and also bribed coaches to give admissions slots meant to be reserved for recruited athletes even if the applicants had no athletic ability.

Parents paid tens of thousands of dollars for his services, which were masked as charitable contributions, prosecutors said.

Singer is scheduled to plead guilty on Tuesday in Boston federal court to charges including racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice, according to court papers. He could not be reached for immediate comment.

Some 33 parents were charged, as well as 13 coaches and associates of Singer’s business. Huffman and Loughlin were not immediately available for comment.

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On a call with a wealthy parent, prosecutors said, Singer summed up his business thusly: “What we do is help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school … my families want a guarantee.”

The scheme began in 2011, prosecutors said, and also helped children get into the University of Texas, Georgetown University, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Part of the scheme involved advising parents to pretend to test administrators that their child had learning disabilities that allowed them extended time to take the exam.

The parents were then advised to choose one of two test centers that Singer’s company said they have control over: one in Houston, Texas, and the other in West Hollywood, California.

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The test administrators in the those centers took bribes to allow Singer’s clients to cheat, often by arranging to have a student’s wrong answers corrected after completing the exam or having another person take the exam.

In many cases, the students were not aware that their parents had arranged for the cheating, prosecutors said.

John Vandemoor, a former Stanford University sailing coach, is also scheduled to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Joseph Ax in New York; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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2020 Election

New 2020 poll shows Trump trailing all Democrats — some by double-digits

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President Donald Trump trails all of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups of the 2020 presidential race, according to the result of a new poll released Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Salon.

The survey, conducted by Emerson Polling, found that the president lags behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 10 points nationally — 45 percent to 55 percent. He also trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by six points — 47 percent to 53 percent —and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg by four points — 48 percent to 52 percent.

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Beto O’Rourke’s ‘war tax’ policy proposal is straight out of ‘Starship Troopers’

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Amid an overcrowded Democratic presidential candidate field, it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack if you don't slot easily into the scale that runs from "pro-corporate centrist" to "left-populist." If you're former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke —  who falls somewhere in the middle, politically, and somewhere towards the top, looks-wise — you pull a militaristic policy proposal out of your hat that recalls some of the most campy pseudo-fascist sci-fi ever written.

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Lawrence O’Donnell aired hard-hitting expose on Trump, Jr — and the president tweets ‘presidential harassment’

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MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday broadcast a hard-hitting segment on Donald Trump, Jr. for defending his father against claims of rape -- despite the fact his own mom made similar allegations.

The host attempted to understand why Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Trump, Jr. are so obidient to Trump when they both used to despise him.

O'Donnell noted a tweet by Trump, Jr. on the latest allegations against his father.

https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/1143330206498852867

Moments after the segment ended, the president tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1143709133234954241

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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