While the details of the particular FBI investigation continued to unravel, some wondered why people with money to waste on bribes wouldn't simply do what people with money to give away usually do when they want a favor from an institution of higher learning?
Which would be -- donate the money directly to the institution and get a building, or at least a lobby or floor or gallery or something, named for the donors.
Instead, it appears that parents eager to get their children accepted into certain colleges paid individuals to game entrance exams or help with pitching the student as a prospective athlete that the coach wanted to have around when classes began.
The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department initially charged 50 people (though others could ostensibly added, since the investigation is apparently ongoing) with participating in a bribery scheme.
Crimes detailed in the charges included cheating on entrance exams (proctors were allegedly paid to correct wrong answers) as well as greasing the palms of college officials to provide the needed athletic profiles -- even though the students were not athletes.
Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney in Boston, where the charges were filed in federal court, told the Post that the parents involved in the scheme came themselves from privilege and wealth, and that the case addressed a growing corruption of highly desired college admissions by using wealth and fraud.
"There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add there will not be a separate criminal justice system, either," he said.
None of the students were charged, said prosecutors, because it was their parents who wound up playing principal roles in the whole affair.