American government lawyers on Tuesday charged 49 people in a $25-million plot to reportedly buy admission to top colleges. The schools involved include Yale, Stanford and Georgetown University.

Those charged include Hollywood actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, test administrators, business leaders and college coaches.

Federal lawyers in Boston accused William Singer of organizing the reported plot. Singer owns the college counseling business Edge College & Career Network, as well as an organization called The Key Worldwide Foundation.

The lawyers said Singer offered people up to $75,000 to take college entrance exams for students.They also accused him of paying college coaches to accept students as sports players even if they had never played the sport. In some cases, the lawyers said, Singer worked with parents to create false academic and athletic successes for the students, including putting student’s faces on the images of real athletes in action.

Lelling said Singer used Key Worldwide Foundation as a front for parents to pay for the services. He said parents paid between $100,000 to $6.5 million for the services. Some of the parents reportedly claimed the payment as charitable donations to lower their taxes.

Lelling said Singer then used the money to bribe college coaches and test administrators. Singer admitted guilt to the charges.

Lelling also charged 33 parents with involvement in the plot. They included actors Felicity Huffman, known for her role in the television show Desperate Housewives, and Lori Loughlin, who appeared in another long-running show called Full House.


Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

coach (n.) /kəʊtʃ/ - A private tutor who gives extra teaching

  • I was thinking about how to prepare and hired a private coach.

athletic (adj.) /aθˈlɛtɪk/ - of or relating to athletes

  • They each received an athletic scholarship to the school.

charitable (adj.) /ˈtʃerətəbəl/ - Relating to the assistance of those in need.

  • He performs charitable work to help the poor.

bribe (v.) /ˈbraɪb/ - to try to get someone to do something by giving or promising something valuable (such as money)

  • She was arrested for attempting to bribe a judge.


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. Who was accused of organizing the plot to buy admission to top colleges?

2. How did Singer try to ensure college admission for students?

3. How much did the parents pay for Singer's services?

4. How many parents were charged with being involved with the plot?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

coach, athletic, charitable, bribe


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions. 

1. What do you think about this scandal?

2. Why do you think parents tried to bribe the colleges?

3. Is college admission difficult in your country?

4. Would you ever accept or offer bribe?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.