Parenting advice author Jane Buckingham sentenced to prison for college admissions scam

Jane Buckingham, a popular parenting advice book writer, was sentenced to just three weeks in prison for paying $50,000 to have someone take a college entrance exam for her son. She is the founder of a boutique marketing agency called Trendera, which counts Target, Nickelodeon, Hearst, Stubhub, and Hilton Worldwide among its clients.

From CNN:

As part of the test-cheating scheme, according to the complaint, Buckingham gave scam mastermind Rick Singer an example of her son's handwriting so that the proctor, Mark Riddell, could imitate it for the exam. Singer and Riddell have both pleaded guilty.

Buckingham's son ultimately received a score of 35 out of 36 on the ACT. She then wired $35,000 to a bank account controlled by Singer's sham charity and informed him that she would seek to have her former spouse pay the remaining $15,000, the complaint states.

On May 8, 2018 Buckingham posted a graphic that said DONT CHEAT (sic) to her Instagram account, along with the comment: "Apply it to all aspects of life and you’ll probably be ok." A month later Buckingham was recorded by the FBI making arrangements to pay someone to pretend to be her son and take a college entrance exam in his name.

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From indignant outrage to courtroom sobbing: Devin Sloane sentenced to 4 months in prison for college admissions fraud

When high school administrators asked wealthy California wastewater executive Devin Sloane (53) why his son got accepted to the University of Southern California as a water polo recruit even though he had never played the sport, Sloane "expressed outrage," reports NPR.

Today in court, Sloane choked back sobs in front of the judge, saying "he was doing what he thought was best for his son," by paying consultant Rick Singer $250,000 to make fake water polo photos of his son and bribing a USC coach to accept him.

On Tuesday, Prosecutor Eric Rosen explained how Sloane purchased water polo equipment, including a Speedo, water polo ball and Italy flag cap, and put his son in the family pool to stage water polo photos that were doctored to gain admission to the university.

Sloane then sent the photos to William "Rick" Singer, the consultant who masterminded the fraud scandal, and wrote, "Hope this works."

Rosen said Sloane used his dead mother as a prop for a fake donation and expressed outrage when high school counselors questioned why his son, who did not play water polo, was being recruited to play college water polo. Sloane's participation in the college bribery scheme, Rosen said, did not end "at the edges of his family's infinity pool."

Sloane, the founder and general manager of the Los Angeles-based water company waterTALENT, was sentenced to four months in prison, "ordered to perform 500 hours of community service and pay a fine of $95,000," according to NPR. Read the rest

USC says it will deny all students linked to admissions scandal (and has denied six already)

The University of Southern California, one of the schools heavily involved in the college bribery scandal, said yesterday that they will deny any current applicant who is involved with the scam. In fact, they've already identified and denied six such applicants, according to Buzzfeed.

USC is also in the process of investigating the students linked to the scandal who are currently attending USC, including Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, daughters of actress Lori Laughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

"If UCLA discovers that any prospective, admitted or enrolled student has misrepresented any aspect of his/her application, or that information about the applicant has been withheld, UCLA may take a number of disciplinary actions, up to and including cancellation of admission," a university spokesperson told Buzzfeed.

Via Buzzfeed:

About half of the 32 parents who allegedly paid the California life coach to fix their children's applications wanted their kids to get into USC...

Now, USC officials say they're going to conduct a thorough, "case-by-case review of current students and graduates that may be connected to the scheme alleged by the government..."

USC said Wednesday that it will deny admission any applicants "who are connected to the scheme."

It's easy to deny current applicants who have lied on their application or cheated in some way to make themselves someone they aren't. But let's see how USC handles the students who are currently enrolled at the university who cheated to get in. The fact that 19-year-old Olivia Jade (who allegedly pretended to be on her high school crew team even though she'd never participated in crew) was on a yacht owned by the Chairman of USC's Board of Trustees the day the story broke, makes this an especially interesting corner of the story to watch. Read the rest

Ringleader of college admissions scandal now admits he helped over 750 families sneak their way into college

Yesterday, news broke out that the Feds had uncovered the biggest college admissions scandal in US history. This involved over 30 families, including the families of actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. But now, it looks like the scandal has blown up into something much much bigger. According to NBC, the ringleader of the admissions scam, William Rick Singer, says he helped 761 families cheat their way into college. Or, as he slyly put it, he helped these families get into college "side doors."

From NBC:

William Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Boston federal court to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges, said in a phone conversation recorded by the FBI that he helps "the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school."

Singer said he facilitated 761 "side doors" to admission.

"They want guarantees, they want this thing done. They don't want me messing around with this thing," he said, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday. "And so they want in at certain schools."

Image: Yale University/Pixabay Read the rest

Parents and college prep agent allegedly deepfaked photos of kids to make them look athletic

In today's stunning news of a college bribery scandal alleging that ultrawealthy, well-connected, privileged elites conspired with a college preparatory business to falsify their children's test scores and bribe university officials to get them into the country's top schools, is this bit of high-weirdness, reported in CNN:

In one case, [Rick Singer, founder of the college prep firm called The Key] even worked with parents to take staged photos of their child engaged in particular sports. In another example, they used stock photos of a person playing a sport and then put the face of a student onto that of an athlete via Photoshop, prosecutors said.

The two most famous parents of those indicted are actresses Lori Loughman and Felicity Huffman, but the full list also includes a number of Silicon Valley and LA power players, including investor William "Bill" McGlashan, who co-founded a social impact fund called The Rise Fund with U2's Bono and eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll, and Jane Buckingham, CEO of Trendera, a boutique marketing firm in LA. Read the rest

The Florida of ballot-design mistakes is...

Florida. Read the rest

How to tell when a singer is lip-syncing

How can you tell when a star is actually singing or just moving their lips to a recorded track? This Slate video uncovers the many ways you can tell if they're actually performing or faking it.

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How a 14-year-old Fortnite cheater may rewrite EULA law

A teenager livestreaming a demo of a Fortnite cheat he found online got sued by Epic Games, but the case raises questions about who, if anyone, is legally obligated after he clicked the user agreement required to play the game. Read the rest

Man receives fine for impersonating his girlfriend to take exam in her place

20-year-old Ayan Zhademov of Kazakhstan wanted to help his 17-year-old girlfriend who was concerned that she would not do well on an upcoming exam. So he put on a wig, applied makeup, wore a skirt and blouse, and took the test for her. He might have gotten away with it, had he not opened his mouth.

Zhademov's cover was finally blown when 'he tried speaking in a high voice, but it was obvious that he was a male'.

A spokesman for the exam board said: 'We suspected it might be another woman that had taken the candidate's place, but we never suspected it was a man that had taken her place. At least not until he started speaking.

[via] Read the rest

Docudrama charts the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong

The Program is a docudrama about the rise and fall of unpleasant person Lance Armstrong, as seen through the eyes of investigative journalist David Walsh, author of Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong. It's directed by Stephen Frears.

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