BOSTON -- Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were among 15 people who appeared before a judge in federal court in Boston on Wednesday.
All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, related to what prosecutors have called 'Operation Varsity Blues.' The defendants all face a maximum of 20 years in prison, having allegedly paid a college prep business to cheat on standardized tests and, in some cases, bribing college coaches to help get their children into competitive universities.
Loughlin, who is most commonly known for her role on the television show 'Full House,' allegedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000. Actress Felicity Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 for someone to cheat on the SATs for her daughter. The defendants also include Gordon Caplan, a Greenwich attorney accused of spending $75,000 for a fake ACT score for his daughter.
“We want Lori to pay for our tuition," said Mackenzie Thomas, a sophomore at Emerson College. "She’s got money to spare.”
Thomas was one of many people who crowded outside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, trying to get a peak at the actresses charged in the scheme.
“We all worked so hard," said Vivi Bonomie, a senior at Emerson. "My little sister’s applying to colleges right now and this has been really disheartening for her."
All of the defendants were given the same conditions by a judge: no possession of any firearms, no international travel, they must surrender their passports, they cannot commit any other crimes and their bonds stayed the same.
"Lori, pay for my tuition!" some onlookers shouted as Loughlin entered the courthouse.
Of the 50 people charged in this case, four have pleaded guilty or plan to plead guilty, according prosecutors, who said the investigation continues.