California woman the 53rd person charged in college cheating scandal

Dec. 11 (UPI) — A California woman has agreed to plead guilty as part of a national college admissions scandal, becoming the 53rd defendant charged in the case, officials said.

Prosecutors in Boston said Karen Littlefair, 57, of Newport Beach, Calif., agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was charged as part of “Operation Varsity Blues,” a wide-ranging scam involving dozens of parents who paid millions for high test scores or athletic scholarships that admitted their children to top U.S. universities.

Prosecutors said Littlefair paid $9,000 to a for-profit college counseling business run by William “Rick” Singer to take online classes on behalf of her son and apply the credits to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to facilitate his graduation.

Singer’s business — The Edge College & Career Network, also known as “The Key” — was found at the center of the scheme, investigators said. Singer has cooperated with prosecutors, and the case has ensnared 53 defendants — including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin.

Littlefair’s plea hearing has not yet been scheduled. Authorities said the agreement recommends a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release, a $9,500 fine and restitution.

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