Photo: Steven Senne, Associated Press
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are names you typically hear in discussions about the infamous college admissions scandal—but celebrities aren’t the only ones in serious legal trouble for the plot.
Former Houston Independent School District employee Niki D. Williams pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and honest services wire fraud and mail fraud for her role in the scheme, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Massachusetts Office.
Williams, 46, administered the SAT and ACT exams at the Houston high school where she worked. In exchange for bribe payments and “in violation of her duty of honest services to the ACT and the College Board,” she conspired with ringleader William “Rick” Singer and Martin Fox to falsify exams before sending them off for scoring.
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The elaborate scheme involved Williams allowing a man by the name of Mark Riddell to manipulate the ACT and SAT for the children of Singer’s clients, and letting Riddell secretly change their incorrect answers to his own.
In an email to the Associated Press, Williams’ lawyer Eric Tennen said she “regrets the harm she has caused her school, her students and the companies that trusted her, [and] “while she has struggled through this difficult process, she is eager to move beyond it and start the next chapter of her life.”
Singer, Riddell and Fox previously pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government’s investigation, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office reported.
Williams is set to be sentenced December 21, and based on the terms of her plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence on the low end of guidelines: one year of supervised release, a fine, forfeiture in the amount of $20,000, and restitution.
The largest college admission scam in history, “Operation Varsity Blues” uncovered a network of wealthy parents who paid Singer thousands of dollars to have their children accepted into elite colleges through bribery, forgery and fraud. Students were admitted to the universities as recruited athletes, even though some had never even played sports.