The federal investigation into a massive cheating scandal in which prominent actors and business leaders got their children into elite universities included seeking records from several prominent Southern California prep schools, according to two sources familiar with the probe.The sources did not name the schools but said they are some of the most well-known private institutions in the area.,They said federal authorities issued subpoenas for records involving some of the students involved in the fraud case.One source with knowledge of the investigation stressed that officials are not at this point accusing the schools of wrongdoing but rather seeking information about student performance and other details.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.,He said they knowingly conspired to help their children cheat or buy their children admission to elite schools through fraud.Among those charged were Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.Huffman is in custody in Los Angeles, along with 11 others.,Law enforcement sources told The Times she was flying to Los Angeles to surrender.Loughlin, of Full House" fame, and Huffman, whose credits include the hit ABC show Desperate Housewives, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.,According to court records, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, the famous creator of clothing brand Mossimo, agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team even though they did not participate in crew.Huffman is accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme, according to court records.
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.
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Another shot was fired Tuesday in the battle between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over control of hiring decisions, with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas declaring that Villanueva is endangering public trust in the department.,On Monday, the county filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court challenging Villanueva’s reinstatement of Caren Carl Mandoyan, who was fired in 2016 by then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell after being accused of domestic violence.,RELATED: Officials Attempt To Reverse LA Sheriff’s Controversial Reinstatement Of Fired Deputy
Calling the need for action “unprecedented” and “uncomfortable,” Ridley-Thomas previewed a motion, to be heard next Tuesday, asking county lawyers to review whether the sheriff’s “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” is legal.,Mandoyan’s firing was upheld by the county Civil Service Commission, but Villanueva reinstated the deputy in his first weeks as sheriff after his upset defeat of McDonnell in last November’s election.,The county’s lawsuit contends that Villanueva does not have the legal authority to reverse the decision of the Civil Service Commission and reinstate Mandoyan, rendering the move “void as a matter of law.”
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, with all due respect to local football fans following the Rams' Super Bowl defeat, thinks his team has some similarities to the NFL champion New England Patriots.,"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka said on a conference call with reporters Friday to discuss his team's NBA trade deadline deals.,The Clippers' deal opened a roster spot, and Pelinka said the team is evaluating "a handful" of players to fill it -- either now or closer to the March 1 deadline to add a player and have him be playoff eligible.,Continuing the Patriots' parallel, Pelinka compared Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to the players the Lakers added, noting how New England found its rhythm after the slot receiver returned from a four-game suspension, much the same way he hopes the Lakers find their stride now.,Pelinka confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that detailed Johnson's plan to meet the team in Philadelphia -- Pelinka said Johnson is attending a reunion celebrating Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship as he makes his way west to east.
Construction of a huge condominium, hotel and retail complex in downtown Los Angeles has paused.,The Los Angeles Times reports that Beijing-based builder Oceanwide Holdings issued a statement Thursday saying the stall is due to recapitalization of the project and work is expected to resume in mid-February.,The Oceanwide Plaza project across the street from the Staples Center sports arena is expected to cost more than $1 billion.,Its three towers have already been built to heights of as much as 55 stories and its 500-plus luxury condos and hotel are envisioned to join the renaissance of once-dowdy downtown LA.,Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Construction of a huge condominium, hotel and retail complex in downtown Los Angeles has paused.,The Los Angeles Times reports that Beijing-based builder Oceanwide Holdings issued a statement Thursday saying the stall is due to recapitalization of the project and work is expected to resume in mid-February.,The Times reports that Chinese companies have been among the biggest commercial real estate investors in the Los Angeles area in the post-recession boom.,The general manager of the city Department of Building and Safety, Frank Bush, said his agency received a call on Friday from Lendlease, the general contractor on the project, saying it was canceling an inspection that had been scheduled for that day.,"They said they were stopping work on the project at this time, and had no further explanation," Bush said, adding that the shutdown has nothing to do with any inspections or permitting issues involving his agency.
With more than 30,000 teachers union members ready to strike Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District is preparing to bring in highly paid substitutes, supervise students in large spaces such as auditoriums and ease background checks for parent volunteers, according to records obtained by The Times.The school system probably will also use online instruction in an effort to continue to provide education.United Teachers Los Angeles, which has scheduled the strike, also represents substitute teachers.,Contracts were signed with at least five agencies.A spokeswoman said this month the district would bring in about 400 substitutes if there was a strike, and that about 2,000 district employees who have teaching credentials but are not in the teachers union have been assigned to work in specific schools or areas.We have a duty to provide an education to our students, and we will take appropriate measures to do so, a district spokeswoman said in a statement.The union has said it will fight the district on outside hiring for temporary positions and is exploring all options to consider legal action to protect the work of UTLA substitutes, according to a statement last month.The districts current plans would put schools at about 8% of regular staffing by teachers union members.But the October contracts with agencies, including the Charter Substitute Teacher Network and Maxim Healthcare Services Inc., allow for more than 4,400 substitutes to be brought in.,But with the regular teachers gone and substitute staffing thin, its hard to know what that instruction will look like.According to the strike planning documents obtained by The Times, each school principal was asked to fill out a Pre-Work Stoppage Worksheet listing the number of large spaces on campus, such as gyms, auditoriums, multipurpose rooms and cafeterias, and how many students each of these spaces would hold.A work stoppage worksheet for Colfax Elementary School from September 2018.,But workers in some of the five other employee unions in L.A. Unified may choose not to cross the picket line.The unions have different stances on the issue.SEIU Local 99, which represents close to 30,000 service employees including teacher assistants, bus drivers, food service workers, gardeners and custodians, has warned members that their jobs may be at risk if they choose to strike, but is asking members at schools to let the union know if at least 80% on a given campus plan to join a sympathy strike.We are still assessing how many school sites will participate in sympathy strikes, SEIU 99 spokeswoman Blanca Gallegos said in an email Thursday.,We are using the 80% threshold as a way to ensure that workers are protected through strength in numbers.The California School Employees Assn. represents about 4,000 clerical, technical and business service employees in the district and is asking its members to inform their supervisors if they plan to strike, said Local 500 president Letetsia Fox.We are allowing our members to make that decision, Fox said.Fox, a senior finance manager at Dorsey High School, said she will not cross the picket line.I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters of UTLA in their quest to receive more resources for their students, she said.The only non-teaching members of employee unions certain not to participate in a sympathy strike are school police, who are legally barred from doing so.
Lacking sufficient students willing and able to pay for costly basketball tickets to fill the new Pauley Pavilion, why should UCLA cough up millions any top-market basketball coach would feel himself to be worth?,How much did it cost UCLA to serve as an uncompensated NBA training camp?My vision of UCLA basketball is somewhat different from Plaschkes: Ticket prices reduced precisely because the coach is not being paid the stellar wage commensurate with a rock star status, and students cheering for actual student-athletes who might go into fields other than pro.,The simple fact is that UCLA does not have someone who knows what he is doing and therein lies UCLAs problem over the past 16 years of Dan Guerreros tenure.Success at the highest level in the two major sports, football and basketball, requires not onlya top-flight coach, but also a top-flight athletic director.,Trump U., for example.Michael JenningVan Nuys::Bill Plaschke, just what was the purpose of your hatchet job description of the UCLA basketball program in your column on New Years Day?,Of course, I was watching the Lady Bruins and their coach, Cori Close.Now that the mens program is looking for someone to take over for coach Alford, perhaps UCLA look no further than its own campus.Mike FeixChino HIlls::For front page news on New Years Day we are offered Bill Plaschkes lament on the failure of basketball at UCLA.