Since the indictments were announced in March 2019, 48 of the 57 defendants who have been charged have pleaded guilty or have agreed to do so. Thirty-three of those have been parents, including the actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, and Ms. Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer. Their sentences have ranged up to nine months in prison.
A handful of parents are scheduled to go on trial in the new year.
The linchpin of the operation was William Singer, who billed himself as a “concierge” admissions consultant for wealthy families. He ran a company called the Key and an associated foundation, which provided a mix of legitimate and fraudulent services, and worked with a network of corrupt athletic coaches and administrators.
He has pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges and is cooperating with the government, though he has not yet been sentenced.
Mr. Singer, who is known as Rick, told parents that he could get their children through a “side door” reserved for recruited athletes.
Prosecutors said Mr. Singer’s services appealed to parents who wanted a guarantee of admission; he typically told them they did not have to pay in full until their children were admitted.
“The parents did not come up with the scheme; that was Rick Singer,” said Leslie Wright, one of the prosecutors. “But without them, it never would have happened.”
The defense argued that Mr. Wilson, a former Gap and Staples executive, and Mr. Abdelaziz, a former Wynn Resorts executive, were the victims of a masterful con artist. Mr. Singer had provided years of college coaching services to the two men, earning their trust, the defense lawyers told the jury, and they had no reason to suspect him.