California physician among 50 charged over college admissions scandal

A Palo Alto, Calif.-based radiologist and his wife were among the 50 people charged March 12 in connection to a massive operation designed to help them get their children into elite universities around the U.S., according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Four things to know:

1. Radiologist Gregory Colburn, MD, and his wife were among the 50 people charged for their roles in the massive cheating and bribery scheme, which an FBI special agent described to The Wall Street Journal as stemming from a "culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for students trying to get into these schools the right way, through hard work, good grades and community service."

2. The 10-month multiagency federal investigation, called Operation Varsity Blues, led to charges against at least 50 people, including several CEOs, business leaders, actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and several coaches at major universities, WSJ reports. The 33 parents were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud in the larger criminal racketeering case, according to the Chronicle.

3. Federal officials accused the parents involved of paying tens of thousands of dollars — sometimes hundreds of thousands — to a fake charity called Key Worldwide Foundation. The charity allegedly facilitated a number of complex schemes to help students gain admission into top colleges. Those schemes included cheating on entrance exams and posing the students as athletes to gain admission.

4. The Colburn couple was specifically charged with paying to have someone else take their son's SAT test, the Chronicle reports.

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