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.

William Rick Singer touted his charity as a way to open doors for disadvantaged students who grew up surrounded by gang violence.The Key Worldwide Foundations website says it funds dental care for needy Cambodians, after-school programs for children in 20 cities across the United States and life coaching to underprivileged girls in Los Angeles.But federal tax records reviewed by The Times showed the great majority of the charitys grants actually went to elite universities, including USC, Yale and New York University.,Fifty people have been charged in the probe.In 2016, the most recent year for which the records are available, Singers foundation gave $252,500 to the University of Texas Athletics, $50,000 to the USC Womens Athletics Board, $25,000 to the USC soccer program and $83,181 to NYU Athletics, the tax documents show.,In 2015, the nonprofit gave $250,000 to athletic programs at USC, including its water polo and womens volleyball programs, $294,000 to the University of Texas Athletics, $250,000 to Yale Summer Time Sports and $175,000 to Chapman University.That year, Friends of Cambodia received $19,200.,We take this matter very seriously and intend to review this relationship in depth to assure ourselves that our principles have not in any way been compromised.In 2014, USC sports programs received $225,000, while NYU Athletics received $203,998, the tax records show.,He cooperated with authorities in the investigation and pleaded guilty to the charges in Boston on Tuesday afternoon, according to court records.Prosecutors allege that well-to-do parents paid Singer to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records to enable them to gain admission to at least eight schools, a list that also includes UCLA, Stanford and Georgetown.Not all the schools named in the case received donations, according to the tax records.Federal law enforcement began the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, in May, based on a tip from a confidential source who was being interviewed as part of a separate investigation, said FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta.The government alleges that Singer instructed parents to donate funds to the charity as part of the scheme.