Mother files $500-billion lawsuit against Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman
|globalnews.ca 15 Mar 2019 at 10:08|
Jennifer Kay Toy, an ex-Oakland school teacher and single mother, filed the massive class-action lawsuit on Wednesday in a San Francisco court against numerous defendants. She claimed, “legitimate applicants to colleges were denied access due to the illegal activities.”
In the lawsuit , Toy said that her son, Joshua, wasn’t admitted to multiple reputable universities where the alleged bribing scandal took place, even though he had a 4.2 grade-point average — above the “top” average of 4.0. Toy did not specify which universities her son applied to, but said his “rights to a fair chance” were stolen.
“I’m outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college not because he failed to work and study hard enough but because wealthy individuals felt that it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college,” Toy said.
“I’m now aware of the massive cheating scandal wherein wealthy people conspired with people in positions of power and authority at colleges in order to allow their children to gain access to the very colleges that Joshua was rejected from,” Toy said. “I’m not a wealthy person, but even if l were wealthy l would not have engaged in the heainous [sic] and dispicable [sic] actions of defendants.”
Toy did not clarify why she’s suing for such an astronomical amount of money, but says more than 1,000 people were involved in the ring, and claims she intends to name each of them in her lawsuit. She accused them all of inflicting emotional distress and committing fraud, directly impacting her son’s future.
The investigation into the defendants, titled “Operation Varsity Blues,” saw at least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents among those charged. Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, as much as $6.5 million, to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said.
In total, roughly 50 individuals — including Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, as well as business executives — have been charged. Several defendants, including Huffman, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said the parents paid to rig standardized exams and bribed coaches to get their children designated as recruited athletes in sports they didn’t even play, thereby boosting their chances of getting in.
The unsealed documents allege that Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000…to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter. Huffman later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so.”
The documents also say that Loughlin and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totalling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
In most cases, the students did not know their admission to the schools, including Yale, Stanford, USC and Wake Forest University, was contingent on a bribe.
Legal experts have cautioned people contemplating filing lawsuits against schools themselves, saying it would be difficult for the average person to hold the colleges responsible.