The scheme relied on bribes, phony test takers and even doctored photos depicting non-athletic applicants as elite competitors to land college slots for the offspring of rich parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Center, 54, who was indicted for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, was arrested Tuesday and made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Springer orchestrated several methods, including bribing those administering college entrance exams to provide answers, change answers or allow someone other than the student to take the exam. In some cases, the lawyers said, Singer worked with parents to create false academic and athletic successes for the students, including putting student's faces on the images of real athletes in action.
Singer allegedly collected a total of $25 million from parents to bribe administrators and coaches to get their children into top universities, including Yale, Georgetown and USC.
Huffman, best known for her role on TV's "Desperate Housewives", is accused of paying $15,000 to an organization that then facilitated cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the indictment said. Parents would pay this man and he would "steer the money" to either an SAT/ACT administrator or college athletic coach. She ended up scoring a 1420 - 400 points higher than she had gotten on a PSAT taken a year earlier, according to court documents.
The documents unsealed from the investigation - called Operation Varsity Blues - showed Tuesday that Yale women's soccer coach Rudy Meredith is alleged to have helped non-recruits get into the prestigious Ivy League school by claiming they were recruits.
Singer also paid coaches to designate unqualified applicants as athletes and would sometimes help families fabricate a profile for their children, including using Photoshop to digitally alter stock photos with an applicant's face, the USA attorney said. Giannulli has also been charged in the indictment. Loughlin is famous as Aunt Becky on the beloved '90s sitcom Full House, and she's made numerous appearances on its Netflix revival series, Fuller House.
Those charged in the case allegedly paid bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into college.
The indictment said Meredith conspired with California businessman William Rick Singer, the owner of a for-profit college entrance company.
The racketeering conspiracy charges were unsealed Tuesday against the coaches at schools including Wake Forest University, Georgetown and the University of Southern California.