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Justice Department releases info on college admissions scheme

North Carolina residents might have heard about the college admissions scandal that has been in the news. Federal officials have charged dozens of parents with paying to have their kids' test scores or athletic credentials falsified in order to gain acceptance into prestigious colleges.

Officials say the parents involved, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, paid large sums of money to have their kids aided in the college application process with false test scores, false athletic credentials or bribes paid to college officials. The amounts most parents paid are said to range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

A 58-year-old man from California that police say was at the center of the entire scheme allegedly coordinated the various operations that were used to get the wealthy students placed in colleges like Yale and Stanford. Falsifying documents, photoshopping students' faces onto the bodies of school athletes and giving students the answers to SAT questions are some of the things the man is accused of arranging to have done.

The Justice Department issued a statement naming 50 people who have been charged in relation to the scheme. The primary charge against parents like Huffman and Loughlin is conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Other charges against people involved in the scheme include racketeering conspiracy and money laundering.

Mail fraud is a federal offense and a serious charge. Federal crimes are different than state crimes, and the entire structure of federal court is also different. Being charged with a federal crime may sound daunting, but someone who is charged with this type of crime has rights, including the right to fight the charges and present a federal criminal defense.

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