Mother files $500 billion lawsuit in alleged college admission bribery scam

SAN FRANCISCO, California (WPVI) -- A $500 billion lawsuit has been filed in the alleged college admissions scam. There are 45 people named in the suit, including the parents now accused of cheating to get their kids into the nation's top schools. Among those named, celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Jennifer Kay Toy filed the suit in San Francisco. She says she was a teacher for Oakland Unified and also a school in Pacifica. Kay Toy also says she is a single mother.

Kay Toy writes in the lawsuit: "I'm not a wealthy person, but even if I were wealthy I would not have engaged in the heinous and despicable actions of defendants. 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."

Colleges and companies moved swiftly to distance themselves from employees swept up in a nationwide college admissions scheme, many of them coaches accused of taking bribes and others prominent parents accused of angling to get their children into top schools by portraying them as recruited athletes.

That celebrities were among the accused parents - actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman headline the list - created much buzz, but other parents charged included people prominent in law, finance, fashion, manufacturing and other fields - people who could afford the steep price.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were 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.

"Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college, and it's disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others," U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement Wednesday. "The department is looking closely at this issue and working to determine if any of our regulations have been violated."

At a brief court appearance Wednesday, a judge allowed Loughlin to be released on $1 million bond and travel to the area around Vancouver, Canada, to work but otherwise imposed strict travel restrictions. Magistrate Judge Steven Kim said Loughlin must surrender her passport in December, inform the court of her travel plans and provide evidence of where she's been if asked.

Loughlin's lawyer Perry Viscounty declined comment outside the courtroom, where a day earlier her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was freed on similar terms.

Prosecutors allege the couple paid $500,000 to have their daughters labeled as crew-team recruits at the University of Southern California, even though neither is a rower.

Among the other parents charged was Gordon Caplan, of Greenwich, Connecticut, co-chairman of the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York. Caplan "will have no further firm management responsibilities," the firm said in a statement Wednesday.

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Information from KGO-TV and The Associated Press were used in this post.
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