The College Admissions Scandal Has Been Turned Into a Lifetime Movie
Even before the college admissions case has closed, Lifetime has already jumped on the bandwagon and made a movie about some of the events. Since the case is still ongoing, viewers should not expect a factual ending because it hasn't happened yet.
Lifetime began filming the movie long before all the details have been revealed and before anyone had been fined or sentenced to prison. That means people who watch the news are more up to date about the processings than the Lifetime will reveal. Lifetime did not know a lot of details when the network produced the movie.
Even without the legal ending, Lifetime still had a lot to work with. As of this writing, 52 people have been named in the scandal. Lifetime saw the illegal events as a million-dollar scandal. A book deal is also in the works.
"The College Admissions Scandal" will debut on Lifetime on October 12, 2019.
By now, almost everyone knows about the scandal that shocked the nation when it was made public on March 12, 2019, by United States federal prosecutors. The investigation into the conspiracy was nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues.
The movie is based on a real-life case that involves at least 52 people connected to the crimes. That number wealthy parents, 11 college employees, 45 students, and $5.9 million paid directly or indirectly to 8 of the top American colleges and universities.
Even though there were dozens of wealthy people, most of the news is centered around actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. Perhaps this is because they are better known than many of the other parents.
A number of the accused have pleaded guilty or have agreed to plead guilty. Thirty-three parents of college applicants are accused of paying more than $25 million between 2011 and 2018 to William Rick Singer, organizer of the scheme. He admitted that he facilitated college admission for students in more than 750 families. He faces up to 65 years in prison and a fine of $1.25 million.
The illegal college admissions case is the largest one of its kind the United States Justice Department had ever had to prosecute.
Timeline of the Crime
The FBI discovered that the crimes date back to 2011 when wealthy parents of high school students used bribery and other forms of fraud to illegally get their children admitted to top colleges and universities. The crimes had been going on for seven years when officials became aware of the scheme in April 2018. That means that some of the students who had enrolled illegally had already graduated.
The illegal activity came about by accident. The FBI might never have found out about the fraud and bribery if Los Angeles businessman Morrie Tobin had not given them information in exchange for leniency in an unrelated case. He turned in one person, Rudolph Meredith who turned in Rick Singer, the central person in the scandal.
By the time authorities thought it had finished gathering information, FBI special agent Laura Smith signed and turned in a 204-page affidavit with the names of wealthy parents who were charged. More people were added later.
More and more information is coming out. On Thursday, September 19, 2019, Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in China because she was accused of paying $400,000 to get her son into the University of California, Los Angeles. She presented him as a soccer player. The woman became the 52nd person charged in the college admissions bribery scheme. She will be extradited to the United States to face charges.
Most of the people were charged in March and another one in June. Sui is the first person to be charged since June. There is a big chance that there are other parents out them who have not been discovered yet.
So, you see now why Lifetime cannot bring closure to the scandal.
The movie follows two wealthy mothers who are obsessed with getting their teenagers into the best possible college, according to Hollywood Reporter. The two women are fictitious and do not play the parts of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Even though actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are familiar faces associated with the scandal, no one will play them in the movie. According to Entertainment Weekly, Penelope Ann Miller and Mia Kirshner will play the film’s leading characters.
Miller plays the part of Caroline, an interior designer. Mia plays the part of Bethany, owner of a financial services firm. Rick Singer is the only real-life character portrayed in the movie. His character is played by Canadian actor Michael Shanks, the college admissions consultant at the center of the scandal.
Update on Felicity Huffman's Involvement
Addition information has been revealed since the movie was finished. Therefore, it is not included in the film. The 56-year-old former actor of Desperate Housewives was arrested on March 12, 2019, soon after the scandal was made public. She was charged with mail fraud and released on $250,000 bail.
On May 13, the actress pleaded guilty to federal charges for paying $15,000 to have a proctor change the answers on her daughter's Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). On September 13, she was sentenced to 14 days in prison and 250 hours of community service. She was fined $30,000 which is doubled the amount she paid for her daughter's test answers to be changed. Huffman's sentence will start on October 25 and will end as early as November 8. Then she will have to complete one year of probation.
Update on Lori Loughlin's Involvement
Huffman pleaded guilty to the federal charges brought against her, while Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, did not plead guilty. They are awaiting trial.
The 55-year-old actress and her fashion designer husband allegedly paid $500,000 for their two daughters to join the school's women's rowing team. Neither of the daughters had ever played the sport, but their images were seen in photos with the rowing team.
On March 13, 2019, Loughlin and her husband surrendered to federal authorities in Los Angeles and were each released on a bail bond of $1 million. They are yet to be sentenced depending on what the results of their trail.
Loughlin was a very popular actress on the Hallmark Channel. Even so, the network edited her out of When Calls the Heart and many other family movies. She lost all her assignments on other networks as soon her involvement in the scandal was confirmed.
What Viewers Should Remember
When something is reported about the college admissions scandal, usually Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin's photos are shown. There have been no photos of the more than 50 other people. Huffman paid less than any of the others and was one of the first to plead guilty, ask for mercy from the court and sentenced to jail.
This writer deliberately did not use their photos in this article because there is more to the story than their involvement.
Viewers who will watch Lifetime's The College Admissions Scandal should know that they will NOT see the end of the story because the case is still ongoing.