Six USC student applicants linked to college bribery scheme denied acceptance
The University of Southern California said Thursday it is denying admission to six applicants linked to the nationwide college admissions scandal, as the fallout continued to spread.
In an e-mail, a USC spokesperson said there are “[six] students in the current admissions cycle who’ve been identified as [connected] to the scheme.”
“Applicants in the current admissions cycle who are connected to the scheme alleged by the government will be denied admission to USC,” the university said in an earlier statement. “We are going to conduct a case-by-case review for current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme alleged by the government.’’
Separately, a former Canadian Football League player is expected to make his first appearance Friday afternoon in federal court in Boston, records show, in connection with the scandal.
David Sidoo, 59, of Vancouver, allegedly made payments totaling $200,000 to have someone take the SAT in place of his two sons, who were later admitted to Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and the University of California, Berkeley, legal filings show.
Sidoo faces a charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Martin G. Weinberg, a prominent Boston defense attorney who’s representing Sidoo, said in an e-mail that his client “fully intends to plead not guilty and contest both the legal and factual basis for the charge.”
Sidoo is among the dozens of wealthy parents, including top financiers and Hollywood celebrities, who are accused of paying bribes to William “Rick” Singer, the admitted ringleader of a sprawling con that funneled some $25 million to Singer-controlled entities over several years.
Sidoo in 2011 paid Singer $100,000 to have another conspirator, Mark Riddell, 36, take the SAT for his older son, according to an indictment. Singer cautioned Riddell not to obtain too high a score because Sidoo’s son had already taken the SAT once before and scored 1460 out of a possible 2400, filings show.
Riddell, posing as the older son, took the SAT in December 2011 and scored a 1670, according to authorities. The older son was admitted to Chapman College in January 2012.
Also in 2012, Sidoo agreed to pay Singer an unspecified amount to have Riddell secretly take a Canadian high school graduation exam in place of his older son, records show.
Later, Riddell took the SAT for Sidoo’s younger son, this time earning a score of 2280 out of 2400, according to the indictment. Sidoo allegedly paid another $100,000 for that, and the son was accepted to UC Berkeley in March 2014, legal filings show.
In another development, two students are suing Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and other schools entangled in the nationwide case, saying they and others were denied a fair shot at admission.
Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods, now students at Stanford, brought the class-action complaint Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of themselves and other applicants and asked for unspecified damages. It appears to be the first lawsuit to emerge from the scandal.
The two students argued that applicants who played by the rules were victimized when rich and famous parents paid bribes that enabled unqualified students to get into highly selective universities.
‘‘Each of the universities took the students’ admission application fees while failing to take adequate steps to ensure that their admissions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheating and dishonesty,’’ the lawsuit said.
Since the charges were filed this week, many of the colleges involved have cast themselves as victims and have moved to distance themselves from the accused coaches, firing or suspending them.
One of the institutions named in the lawsuit, the University of Texas at Austin, issued a statement saying that it is ‘‘outraged’’ over the scheme and that any wrongdoing at the school does not reflect its admissions practices and was carried out by ‘‘one UT employee.’’
The two plaintiffs said they were denied a fair opportunity at Yale and the University of Southern California. The lawsuit also named the University of California at Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, and the University of San Diego.
Meanwhile, cosmetics company Sephora said it is dropping its social-media relationship with actress Lori Loughlin’s daughter after her parents were charged in the bribery scheme.
Paris-based Sephora said in a statement Thursday that after reviewing the developments, the company has ended its partnership with 19-year-old Olivia Jade Giannulli ‘‘effective immediately.’’
Giannulli is a social media star with millions of followers and frequently pushes products online.
Her father is fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and her parents are among the 50 people charged.
Hallmark, meanwhile said it was cutting ties with her mother following Loughlin’s arrest in the case.
In a statement Thursday, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel says it was ‘‘saddened’’ by the recent allegations.
Loughlin’s been a longtime star of the Hallmark channel’s Christmas movies and is also is in its ‘‘Garage Sale Mysteries’’ movies and the series ‘‘When Calls the Heart.’’