Valenti Hanley PLLC

How a securities fraud exposed a national college admissions scam

Sometimes, the most carefully organized criminal schemes can topple very suddenly. It only takes one "domino" in the line to set everything in motion.

That's basically how federal investigators stumbled into the biggest college admissions scandal to ever rock the nation. At least 50 people have been arrested -- including some well-known celebrities and executives -- and numerous students, colleges and universities are facing untold repercussions.

And it all started with an investigation into securities fraud. Prosecutors were targeting a well-placed executive in a probe of some financial irregularities and a market manipulation scheme when the executive offered up some surprising information about another crime. He told investigators that Yale's women's soccer coach had offered to "recruit" the executive's daughter into the school -- despite the fact that she wasn't actually an athlete. All it would take was the right amount of cash.

Investigators eventually set up a sting and nabbed the coach in the act of accepting a downpayment on the $450,000 he ultimately wanted for his deception. Eventually, the coach turned into one of the informants the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) used to crack open the far-reaching case and identify other participants in the scheme.

The official who spoke about the situation and how it developed was not identified and remains anonymous. There's no word on whether or not the executive who clued the feds into the college admissions scheme gained any leniency in return for his other legal problems.

Cases like this show how easily one investigation can snowball and touch off a number of satellite investigations as well. Almost everyone even peripherally involved can have their lives turned upside down as investigators search for evidence of a crime.

If you're under investigation or targeted in a probe due to suspected securities violations, talk to an attorney before you talk to anyone else. Your future is at state.

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