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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 14, 2019 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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. this is "nightline." tonight, star sentenced. actress felicity huffman heading to prison. the desperate housewives star sentenced for her role in the college admissions scandal. the penalty raising new questions tonight. plus, poll positions. the new stripper movie "hustlers." but before j. lo, b and constance wu ever hit the stage, these women were a part of that scene, inspiring the real-life tale of drugs, money, and revenge. >> you see the scum. >> the true story even wilder than the movie. but first the "nightline" five.
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good evening. thanks for joining us. we begin tonight with the tearful boston. the star sentenced to prison time for her role in the giant college admissions cheating scandal. that penalty generating much
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discussion tonight. eva pilgrim there when the sentence came down. >> reporter: >> a solemn felicity huffman clutching her husband william h. macy's hand while arriving in court in boston today to hear her fate. the first of many parents to be sentenced in operation "varsity blues." the punishment for being part of one of the largest college admissions scams -- 14 days in jail, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine. the sentence for one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. almost six months to the day after the fbi arrested the hollywood actress at her home. huffman plead guilty in may. >> the judge made it clear that she wants to send a message that just because you've got money and you've got privilege it doesn't mean that you can get away with something like this. the actress of "desperate housewives" fame. >> you're asking for a bribe? >> tearfully apologizing in court for paying a consultant $15,000 to change her daughter's s.a.t. score. calling her own conduct "stupid" and "wrong" and "taking full responsibility for her actions."
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>> is prison the right sentence? >> huffman trending on twitter this afternoon -- some making comparisons to an african american mother in ohio who was originally sentenced to five years in prison for fraudulently using her father's address to get her children into a nearby suburban school district. her sentence was later reduced to ten days in jail. >> prosecutors had been arguing for a month behind bars, saying, "a message must be sent for the next felicity huffman." describing her actions as "deliberate and manifestly criminal." saying "neither probation nor home confinement" --in a large home in the hollywood hills with an infinity pool -- "would deter others from committing similar crimes." prosecutors asked for a month. defense asked for probation. the judge split it right in the middle and gave her 14 days. >> huffman's plea for leniency -- a letter -- was sent earlier this week to the judge where she stated her decision was out of "desperation to be a good mother." "believing that all i was doing
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was giving my daughter a fair shot." >> she called motherhood "bewildering" which, coupled with her daughter's "learning disabilities" made her do what was "the opposite of fair." >> she revealed all her motivation in getting involved in this, she apologized profusely for everything that she did. she really took full responsibility. and she had a bunch character witnesses including eva longoria and her husband. >> nearly a dozen other parents now face sentencing after pleading guilty in the scandal. another 19 are fighting the charges. >> they are accused of doling out more than 25 million dollars to cheat the admissions system and secure entry for their children into some of the most elite colleges, from stanford, to yale, to georgetown. >> this is a case where they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the system. prosecutors say they uncovered widespread bribes to exam officials to cheat on standardized tests, as well as paying off coaches for athletic slots, even staging photos for applicants who never played the sport. >> the head women's soccer coach
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for yale, in exchange for $400,000 accepted an applicant as a recruit for the yale women's team despite knowing that the applicant did not even play competitive soccer. >> authorities say this man, william "rick" singer, was the mastermind >> hi. my name is rick singer. and i'm the founder of the key. as a father myself, i understand the stress the college admissions process can put on your family. investigators say the key was a fake college non-profit through which singer funneled bribes. >> this enabled parents to not only mask the true nature of the payment, but also take the tax write off at the end the year. >> reporter: singer is now a cooperating witness. >> this is a game, just realize this is a game. >> reporter: a video shows singer pitching himself as the
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star of his own reality show, centered around the stresses of college admissions. >> mom and dad go to a dinner party. they hear about every kid going into this school, sunday morning, my phone rings off the hook. why? how come we're not doing this. >> reporter: singer pled guilty to a host of charges and faces 10 to 20 years in prison. he also turned against his clients, including huffman and lori laughlin of "full house" fame. >> he may have embellished, lied, a bit on our application. >> reporter: they are accused of paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters intorsit o chte ts for the c despe fact thaterd. 19-year-old olivia is a social
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media influencer, known as olivia jade to nearly 2 million subscribers on her youtube channel. she landed paid partnerships with sephora, tresemme and amazon. but after news broke, all three terminated their relationships with her. >> lori, lori, lori, pay for my tuition! >> reporter: they have since left usc. lori laughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty to mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. huffman's sentence now complicating lori's case. she and her husband return to court next week. >> if lori love lyaughlin goes t court and is convicted she will much more likely get more time than huffman got. >> reporter: huffman has until october 25th to turn hto serve .
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i'm eva pilgrim, in boston, massachusetts. next, the real-life hustlers, inspiring j. lo, cardi b and constance wu in the sexy new movie. stop struggling to clean tough messes with sprays. try clean freak! it has three times the cleaning power to dissolve kitchen grease on contact. it works great on bathtubs. and even stainless steel. try clean freak from mr. clean. jill jill has entresto, and a na heart failure pill
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and we're back now with the story of women conspiring to drug men and lure them into gentlemen's clubs. long before it became a splashy new movie starring j. lo and a cardy cardi b, there were the real-life hustlers. it's a tale of women surviving
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in a man's world. they thought its what the perfect con. starring j. lo and constance wu. >> when you're in these that are glammorous and dangerous, it's a slippery slope. >> reporter: they would be inspired to luring men to gentlemen's clubs and having astronomical amounts charged to their credit cards. rosie keogh was one of them. >> you see the worst of men when you work in a club. you see the scum of the scum. they're trying to date you. trying to tell you, oh. so you say yeah, yeah, yeah. >> reporter: it was a scheme that started to take shape during a time when cash was tight. >> stocks all around the world are tanks. >> we are in the midst of a
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serious financial crisis. >> girls decided they had to find a different way to bring in the bucks. >> you weren't paid to sit around and talk anymore. girls were doing dirty things. it's like oh, my gosh, i'm not going to do that. >> reporter: instead she partnered with a waitress at the club. and samantha, another ringleader in the scheme. >> she had connections with the hosts and customers. i would like to think samantha was the ceo and i was the cfo. >> reporter: it began as a legal enterprise. ? . >> we went all over the city, steakhouses, bars. i was dressed in a blazer. i was pretending that i also came out of work and had a rough day. what kind of work are you in? i'm in marketing. if you saw a black american, you knew you had a high roller.
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and we would bring clients back to the club and your goal is to get them to spend as much as possible. >> reporter: then the idea came town drug them. >> not a date drug. this is something that will put you into a euphoric state so you will be more complacent. you're agreeable to just about anything. >> it was a little illegal, then one thing led to the next. things progressed. and little by little you find yourself doing things that sound crazy. >> the greed actually undermined their entire scam. >> samantha was so good at lits set up these dates. >> reporter: they thought they found the perfect target in a wealthy cardiologist looking for love with money to spend. >> he was set up on a date with karina. >> yeah, samantha had texted him, using my picture. >> we ended up going on a date. >> and everything just kind of transpired from there.
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>> reporter: he went on three dates with karina. each time he woke up the next morning with little memory of the evenings, but he was smitten. >> he had texted me almost religiously, and i kind of felt bad. and he said he had gotten concert tickets. >> we went to the concert together and all she kept asking was for wine. but once the concert starts they don't serve alcohol. >> that was a dreadful night. i actually had to talk to him. sometimes you get tired of pretending and fake laughing all night. so that was rough. >> reporter: what's the next thing you remember? >> waking up in the hotel. there wa message from american express, on a place called robert's steakhouse. >> reporter: you had $100,000 of charges. do they tell you on one, two, or three nights? >> it was every time i went out to dinner with her. >> reporter: he confronted karina. >> i told her, you're nothing
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but a thief, you're nothing but a swipdleer. i don't want to talk to you or see you again. >> i was apologetic. i definitely, 100% felt bad. i didn't know it was that high until i found out from samantha. >> it was a good scam that worked because a lot of them had wives in high power positions. they didn't want any problems. they just wanted to pay the bill and move on. >> reporter: but the charges were determined fraudulent. so annex decided not to play scores and they came after the doctor. he lawyers up and counter sues saying he was drugged and that scores and the women defamed him. by then, the feds and nypd were already onto the scam. >> we set up an operation at a luxury hotel. have control inside a room, do audio and video and agents in other rooms in case there was an issue.
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>> reporter: they had a dea agent pose as a rich guy. he did all the things that would make him a target. >> the way i dressed, the way i acted. we did our investigation ahead of time. so we ended up in the hotel room, knowing that these drinks would possibly be drugged. >> reporter: did you begin to act like you were under the influence? >> yes, i >> are you married? >> mm-hm. >> ah, that sucks. did you drink >> he knew he would pose as if he had actually been drugged. >> but we were afraid he had actually been drugged. >> i was moving my leg, showing them, i'm okay. we were just hoping that the girls would take his credit card and leave and go swipe it. >> reporter: finally, the dea
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intervenes. >> so i had some individuals pose as hotel security and enter the room. >> security! >> security? >> this guy, is he alive? >> yeah. >> does he need an ambulance? >> no! >> reporter: the police are unable to arrest the women, because they didn't catch them bringing the undercover agent's credit card into the club. >> it wasn't a failure, because we did get some evidence. >> reporter: enough evidence to build a case. they were able to get security camera footage. video and audio arguing over how much did you give him. >> you don't need alcohol. >> reporter: within months, the women involved are arrested. >> strippers are auunder arrest tonight, accused of drugging customers and wracking up huge bills on their charge cards. >> they come to my house early in the morning.
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and i was taken into handcuffs. it was like oh, my god, the whole world, everybody knows what i did. >> i was working in manhattan at a clothing store at the time. so when they had come to apprehend me, i was really surprised. there was three big dea agents. i mean, when you get arrested, the whole world goes black and everything goes silent. >> they start to break down almost immediately when they were arrested. they have evidence that they don't think they have that the police have. they have text messages, all kinds of things. they immediately cooperated. they wanted to get out of the heat. >> i had a child to take care of. i decided not to go to trial. i decided to just make it all stop. and taking five years probation and staying at home and focussing on my daughter and just seeing the mom that i should have been to her.
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the outcome could have been worse. >> i definitely feel responsible for just luring people in and, you know, manipulating them. >> the case is over. one of the judges threw out, essentially, the score case for $135,000. >> reporter: the judge also threw out the defamation case. >> people might not find me remorseful, but i definitely went through my own remorse in privacy. >> when i was hurting these people and doing wrong things, i was also hurt myself. >> they may justify their actions by claiming they're victims, but they're not. >> reporter: the ring leaders cooperated and got no jail time. karina spent 16 weekends at riker's. >> i thought that the women got off with less than a slap on their naked wrists. i thought they got off completely. >> reporter: these days these hustlers are trying to get their
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lives back on track. >> i'm getting my associates in criminal psychology. >> i was in the wrong industry. if i chose a different crowd, things could have been great for me. what you do does not define who you are. it's what you learn from it. it's what you do after it. it's who you become. later on. >> and up next, the text message sent to the wrong number, setting off the right chain reaction of kindness. sh. but my hygienist said going electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gum line. for cleaner teeth and healthier gums. and unlike sonicare, oral-b is the first electric toothbrush brand accepted by the ada for its effectiveness and safety. what an amazing clean! i'll only use an oral-b! oral-b. brush like a pro.
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once thought to belost forever. the most personal technology is technology with the power to change your life. and finally tonight, one wrong number turning out to be oh, so right. >> well, just pray for noah. >> abby thinks text message was one digit off. she was offering to bring dinner to her friends, parents of noah, but bill, the stranger who accidently got the message launching into action, rallying facebook friends to send gifts and cards, getting a charity to help out. >> a teachable moment for his son said the single father. and a terrific lesson for us
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