WEST HOLLYWOOD—After pleading not guilty in March, Igor Dvorskiy, a former test administrator, will plead guilty to racketeering and testify against others involved in the college admission scandal no later than November 20.
According to CNN, Dvorskiy faces up to 40 months in prison, a fine and forfeiture of $150,000. He also faces 12 months of supervised release and restitution in an amount that the court will determine at sentencing according to his plea agreement.
Boston federal prosecution documents state that Dvorskiy accepted a total of $150,000 in bribes from William “Rick” Singer to give permission to Mark Riddell, another third party test taker, to alter test scores of prospective students. Dvorskiy set SAT and ACT tests to be taken at the West Hollywood College Preparatory School from parents bidding up to $75,000 per student.
The process involved Singer directing parents from all over the country to register their children to take their college admissions exams at West Hollywood College Preparatory School. When they did, Riddell would take the tests in a student’s place, or replace their responses with his own. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to four federal charges admitting that the cases against him were true in nature.
The investigation revealed that actress Felicity Huffman’s daughter was one of the students who used Dvorskiy’s school. Eighteen parents have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. Huffman was recently sentenced to 14 days in jail, which the actress is slated to begin at the end of the month.
Documents unsealed in federal court on March 12 detailed a $25 million nationwide college-acceptance fraud scandal, implicating 50 people including two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents in what authorities dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.””
Dozens of parents, coaches and facilitators, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and “Fuller House” actress Lori Loughlin, are believed to have allegedly paid millions in bribes to coaches to guarantee their children’s admission to top schools of their choice including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, UCLA and Wake Forest.
Huffman and Loughlin were charged for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Huffman was arrested at her Hollywood Hills home by FBI officials on March 12. Loughlin surrendered to authorities at the Central District Court, the following day.
The affidavit in support of criminal complaint revealed that Huffman contributed $15,000 for her eldest daughter to have her incorrect exam answers altered to increase her SAT score. Arrangements were made to re-attempt the scheme for her younger daughter, but she did not pursue it.
Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Gianulli, known for the popular 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 — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.” The complaint also revealed federal agents have recorded phone calls of the celebrities speaking with cooperating witnesses and have incriminating emails from Loughlin.
Loughlin deleted her social media accounts and her daughter, who goes by Olivia Jade on her Instagram and Youtube page, was forced to disable her Instagram comments after people started harassing her over the alleged college cheating scandal.
The non-profit college-prep Key World Wide Foundation, between 2011 to 2018, received a total of $25 million in charitable donations, alleged to be bribes, by wealthy parents to founder Willam Rick Singer making this the largest college admissions scam to be prosecuted by the Justice Department according to US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of the District of Massachusetts. Parents used the donation guise as a tax deduction.
Most clients paid Singer between $250,000 and $450,000 per student with some paying as much as $6.5 million Lelling noted during a press conference on March 12, 2019.
Investigations began on May 2018 after uncovering evidence of a large scale elaborate fraud while working an unrelated, undercover operation. “The FBI uncovered what we believe is a rig system robbing students all over the country of their right at a fair shot to getting into some of the most elite universes in this country,” said Bonavolonta. “We believe everyone charged here today had a role in fostering a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way through hard work, good grades and community service.”
Written By Alondra Arana and Casey Jacobs