In allegations that sent shock waves through academia, federal prosecutors on Tuesday accused top CEOs, two Hollywood actresses and a legendary fashion designer of taking part in an audacious scheme to get their children into elite universities through fraud, bribes and lies.The scheme, which began in 2011, centered around the owner of a for-profit Newport Beach college admissions company that wealthy parents paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, according to court records.Fifty people, across academia and college sports as well as a cadre of super-wealthy parents, have been charged in what prosecutors say is the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.,Some parents participated in one aspect of the scheme, while others paid for both, stealing slots from hard-working students with legitimate grades and test scores, authorities said.William Rick Singer, who owns the admissions company called the Edge College Career Network, was charged with money laundering, obstruction of justice, racketeering and conspiracy to defraud the United States.,In at least one instance, a student claimed to have a learning disability to obtain medical documentation required by the College Board and ACT Inc. to grant additional time on the tests, according to court documents.Once the students were given additional time, which generally allowed them to take the test over two days instead of one and in an individual setting, the clients were instructed to change the location of the exam to either a public high school in Houston or a private college preparatory school in West Hollywood that Singer controlled, according to the documents.At those locations, prosecutors allege, Singer bribed test administrators Igor Dvorskiy, of Los Angeles, and Lisa Niki Williams, of Houston, with the parents money to facilitate cheating on the exams.,Singer had a psychologist on his team assign fake learning disabilities to give students an academic advantage, the charges say.Coaches and private admissions counselors allegedly received money for helping to get students admitted as athletes at Yale, Stanford and USC.USC senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and mens and womens water polo coach Jovan Vavic were alleged to have received bribes totaling more than $1.3 million and $250,000, respectively, to help parents take advantage of the relaxed admissions standards for athletes at USC even though their children were not legitimately being recruited as athletes.,It described spending thousands of dollars on trips for dental students to help needy Cambodians and offering math tutoring to underserved children in Oakland.Prosecutors said the charity was nothing more than a means to launder money to an array of people requiring bribes.Our contributions to major athletic university programs may help to provide placement to students that may not have access under normal channels, the organization stated in tax documents.Federal law enforcement began the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, in May 2018, based on a tip from a confidential source who was being interviewed as part of a separate investigation, said FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta.Make no mistake: This is not a case where parents were acting in the best interests of their children.

Weather experts said the chilly February doesnt signal a larger change in some of those trends.Even factoring in the cold snap, California is still warmer than average, and swings between periods of severe winter rainstorms and profound drought will probably become more pronounced in the future because of climate change, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.He added that it might not be as cold as locals perceive it to be given how much warmer it has been in the last several years.This year seems anomalous because we have already internalized a lot of the warming thats occurred, he said.On Thursday, a light drizzle blanketed the barren streets of Santa Monica.,The L.A. native pulled on jeans, a thin shirt and a dark denim jacket and capped it off with a beanie, but said she always feels ill-prepared for the cold.I tend to wear one layer because its L.A. and I keep expecting its going to get warmer, but it doesnt, she said.Several factors including a lack of offshore wind and, more broadly, climate change have played into Californias weird winter weather, experts say.The recent cold snap has also brought snow to portions of the Southland that rarely see any.,If it weakens and the air is no longer a continuous band, cold air can spill out of the Arctic and move down to the West Coast, Swain said.The city came close within one degree of hitting the 70 mark, but it never quite warmed up enough to get there.Theres plenty of days in January and February where people want to go to the beach and we usually get a few of those days every winter, Kittell said.,Back-to-back winter storms this year have blanketed Californias mountain ranges with snow, making this a banner winter for skiers and snowboarders.The storms have covered Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood with more than 8 feet of fresh snow this winter, while Big Bear Mountain Resort has received more than 10 feet.,This season has provided the best conditions for snow sports in roughly a decade, said John McColly, vice president of sales and marketing at Mountain High, who added that it feels like a real winter this year.Matt Martinez, 41, is an avid surfer who spends the colder months chasing storms that provide local mountains with a blanket of fresh powder.