BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are now two coaches with Maryland connections are linked to a nationwide college admissions scandal that has ensnared several celebrities and other wealthy parents.
Federal prosecutors say the scheme was set up as a charity — and parents paid 10’s of thousands of dollars to scam their children’s way into elite schools.
They could then deduct the bribes on their taxes.
Rudy Meredith is Yale University’s former Head Women’s Soccer Coach and is accused of taking bribes.
Meredith is originally from Maryland and attended high school here. He’s also a graduate of Montgomery College, where he’s listed on the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
He has an initial court appearance set for March 28 in Massachusetts and is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud.
“He’s done a lot of good for soccer in the community at the youth level as well as the high school and the college level,” said Sean Duffy, who knows the coach.
Another Maryland tie is tennis coach Gordon Ernst. He was formerly with Georgetown University and is accused of taking almost $3 million in payments from parents to get their students into the prestigious school.
WJZ cameras captured Ernst leaving the federal courthouse in Greenbelt Tuesday.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren reports that the government wants Ernst to pay restitution including forfeiting his membership in the tony Chevy Chase Country Club.
Here is a list of everyone charged in the investigation, known as Operation Varsity Blues.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are out on bond in the case.
Loughlin is best known for her role in the comedy “Full House.” An episode that aired 26 years ago is getting viral attention online — where her character was involved in cheating the system to gain her twins’ admission to an exclusive preschool.
Now, Loughlin faces real time in federal prison for the scheme that saw parents paying for their children to get fake recommendations, cheat on tests, and coast through admissions because of their supposed athletic prowess — when many had never even played the sports in which they were supposed to be leaders in their field.
Fifty people face criminal charges. More arrests could come in the weeks and months ahead.
Huffman, of “Desperate Housewives” fame, allegedly paid $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was in court with her Tuesday as she was charged with conspiracy and posted a $250,000 bond.
At the heart of the conspiracy is William “Rick” Singer. Prosecutors said Singer became a cooperating witness turning in A-list clients.
According to court documents, Singer was the CEO of a college prep company in California. Parents spent as much as $6.5 million dollars to guarantee their children’s college admission. He called it a “side door.”
Prosecutors said the fraud hurts deserving students who were denied admission to the highly competitive schools to make room for those whose parents bribed their way onto campus.
Prosecutors were tipped off while working on an unrelated investigation.