Two class action lawsuits have already been filed in response to Operation Varsity Blues, the nationwide investigation of cheating on college admissions.
In a case filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, a Bay Area mother claims that her son was rejected from certain universities due to cheating by wealthy parents. The suit names 45 individual defendants, including actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who each face criminal fraud charge in connection with the case.
A second suit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Northern California, on behalf of two Stanford students, Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods. The suit names eight universities as defendants, as well as William “Rick” Singer, the alleged mastermind of the cheating scandal. Though they ended up at Stanford, Olsen applied to Yale and Woods to USC. The suit claims that both processes were tainted by fraud.
The suit also alleges that the students’ admission to Stanford has been tainted by association with the scandal.
“Her degree is now not worth as much as it was before, because prospective employers may now question whether she was admitted to the university on her own merits, versus having rich parents who were willing to bribe school officials,” the suit states, referring to Woods.
Both suits seek to represent a broad class of similarly affected students. In the San Francisco Superior Court case, plaintiff Jennifer Kay Toy alleges that her son, Joshua, got a 4.2 grade point average in high school but was still rejected from some of the schools implicated in the scandal.
“I’m not a wealthy person but even if I were wealthy I would not have engaged in the heinous and despicable actions of defendants,” Toy alleges. “I’m now outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college not because he failed to work and study hard enough but because wealthy individuals felt that it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college.”
Federal prosecutors allege that some parents paid between $200,000 and $6.5 million to get their children into college. Some would allegedly hire Singer to fraudulently boost their children’s SAT and ACT scores, while others are accused of paying to have fraudulent athletic profiles created, which helped the students get into school with the assistance of allegedly corrupt coaches.