March 19 (UPI) -- Two California universities targeted by what prosecutors say was a major admissions cheating scandal are taking action involving students tied to the scheme, officials said.
The University of Southern California and University of California at Berkeley were among a number of schools named in a federal indictment last week that prosecutors say dozens of parents wanted their children to attend. Wealthy parents paid millions to a California businessman to ensure their admission, via routes than included sham athletic scholarships or cheated test scores, the indictment said.
USC said Monday it will block students associated with the scandal from registering for classes or acquiring transcripts while their cases are under review.
Authorities said the businessman, William Rick Singer, orchestrated the nationwide scheme. A number of universities -- including Yale, Stanford and others -- are now reacting to the realization that some students may have been admitted through fraudulent means. USC said students have been notified and its inquiry will be done on a case-by-case basis.
"We will take the proper action related to their status, up to revoking admission or expulsion," the school said. "The alleged admissions scheme involved fraudulent applications in which students' academic and athletic ability were intentionally misrepresented to the university for the sole purpose of bypassing USC's rigorous admissions process."
USC said it's also investigating donations that may have been received in connection with the scheme, money that would be redirected to benefit other students.
Sunday, the Los Angeles school fired two employees implicated in the case and a tenured employee was put on leave.
Actress Lori Loughlin, known for appearing in the sitcoms Full House and Fuller House, is named in the indictment and has two daughters attending USC. One was photographed on a rowing machine to make it seem like she could be on the university's crew team, NBC News reported.
Loughlin was arrested and released on bail last week, and has since been fired from The Hallmark Channel. One of her daughters, 19-year-old Olivia Jade Giannulli, lost endorsements with Sephora and TRESemme.
Also Monday, UC Berkeley said it's investigating the admission of Jordan Sidoo, the son of prominent Canadian businessman David Sidoo who is named in the indictment. Prosecutors said he created a phony ID so a professional test taker could stand in for his son. Jordan Sidoo was listed as a member of the Cal men's crew team.
Sidoo is accused of paying Singer $200,000 for a stand-in to take the SAT test and the Canadian high school graduation exam for his older son, who went to Chapman University. He paid $100,000 to a Florida test taker for his younger son, Jordan, prosecutors said. David Sidoo has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Jordan Sidoo's LinkedIn page says he graduated from Berkeley last year after studying history. School officials said students must follow a statement of integrity and that his diploma could be revoked.
The prestigious Bay Area school noted that it was not involved in the scheme and was a preferred school eyed by some of the parents. None of the schools were implicated in the case.