“Federal prosecutors are pursuing a new set of parents in the college admissions fraud scandal, sending ripples of fear through elite circles in Southern California and stirring speculation about which well-heeled executive or celebrity might be the next to be charged,” The New York Times reports. “The prosecutors have informed some of the parents — the exact number is unclear — that they are under investigation in the nation’s largest-ever college admissions probe, according to four defense lawyers.”
The lead prosecutor reportedly met with lawyers for at least two of these parents during a trip to L.A. last month. Meanwhile, defense attorneys cited by The Times say a larger group of parents worry that they may also be targets, with some parents reportedly already hiring lawyers and devising strategies.
Prosecutors have also “sent target letters to three students, raising the prospect that the students could face criminal charges and compounding their families’ anxieties,” the paper reports.
The Times adds: “William Singer, the college consultant at the center of the scheme, was based in Newport Beach, and many of his clients were in the Los Angeles area. Some of those clients are now grappling with a secret, nerve-racking waiting game, while fellow parents openly gloat about cheaters getting their due or whisper about which high school senior might have benefited from some shady help.”
The report quotes an L.A. defense lawyer whose firm represents a number of parents — some of whom have reportedly already heard from the government — saying: “For many of these people, this is the only thing they can think about.” The lawyer declined to be quoted by name.
“He said these clients have watched as the 33 parents already charged have been publicly shamed,” The Times reports. “They worry that they, too, could be exposed for having ties to Mr. Singer, and that, like the parents already charged, they could have been caught on recorded phone calls talking about their children and their prospects for college.”