Rejected Students Sue Schools Caught in Admissions Scandal

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 18, 2019 2:36 PM

In the wake of a college admissions bribery scandal that ensnared Hollywood stars and several sports coaches, a potential class action lawsuit was filed by seven college applicants against the ringleader of the admissions scam along with eight of the schools involved. The suit claims the rejected applicants paid admission fees "without any understanding or warning that unqualified students were slipping in through the back door of the admissions process by committing fraud, bribery, cheating, and dishonesty."

Here's a look at the legal claims:

Students v. Schools

The lawsuit centers around William "Rick" Singer and his college admissions consulting company, "The Key," through which wealthy parents funneled millions to get their otherwise unqualified children into elite schools. According to the suit, the scam had two distinct features:

  1. The "Test Cheating" Scam: Parents paid six-figure sums for Singer and The Key to "arrange for imposters to pose as the students and take their college entrance examinations (ACT or SAT) for them"; and
  2. The "Student-Athlete Recruitment" Scam: Singer "would create bogus sports profiles for the parent's teenaged student, making it seem as though the teenager was a superior athlete in a sport," and funnel bribes to coaches to get students preferred admissions as athletic team recruits.

"Had Plaintiffs known that the system was warped and rigged by fraud," according to their lawsuit, "they would not have spent the money to apply to the school. They also did not receive what they paid for -- a fair admissions consideration process."

Among the targeted schools are the University of California at Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Stanford, Georgetown, and Yale. The students and their parents are claiming Singer and the schools violated California consumer protection and unfair competition laws along with federal RICO statutes.

Parents v. Parents

The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that a second lawsuit was filed by a former teacher with the Oakland Unified School District, Jennifer Kay Toy and her son, Joshua, against dozens of parents (but not the schools) allegedly involved in the scheme. That suit is seeking $500 billion in damages.

Almost 50 parents, along with nine college coaches, have been indicted on criminal charges related to the scam and Singer has already pleaded guilty.

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