Brooke Burke is using the college admissions scandal to teach her children a valuable lesson.
While attending the Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai Annual Luncheon in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, the mother of four opened up about how she addresses the current political climate and ongoing scandal with her kids.
“Have integrity. Be honest, and be authentic to what you believe in,” said Burke, 48, who shares son Shaya, 11, and daughter, Heaven Rain, 12, with ex David Charvet, and daughters Sierra, 17, and Neriah, 19, with ex-husband Garth Fisher.
“We all go through it, this whole private school system and college applications is no joke, especially when there is a lot of money floating around,” said the actress, who made her relationship with new boyfriend Scott Rigsby red carpet official at the event.
Ultimately, the former Dancing with the Stars co-host wants her children to learn the importance of drive and hard work.
“So I am trying to teach my children to be proud of who they are and to work harder. And if they can’t figure it out,” she said with a laugh, “then figure it out.”
The shocking nationwide scam, which has been dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, broke earlier this year. On March 12, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts indicted fellow actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli in the scandal. Nearly 50 other parents, coaches, exam proctors and admissions counselors are accused of actions such as paying for boosted SAT scores and lying about students’ athletic skills in order to gain them acceptance to elite colleges including Yale, Georgetown, the University of Southern California and Stanford.
Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to admissions consultant William Singer to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 20, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 21, as recruits to the USC crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport. (The USC Registrar has since confirmed that “Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli are not currently enrolled” at the university.)
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release on Oct. 22 that Loughlin, 55, Giannulli, 56, and nine other defendants “conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission.” They have been charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.
Prior to the new charges, Loughlin and Giannulli both already faced charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud. They previously faced up to 40 years in prison and have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
While Loughlin and Giannulli are maintaining their innocence, Huffman, 56, pleaded guilty in May to paying disgraced admissions consultant Rick Singer $15,000 to have a proctor change daughter Sophia’s SAT answers after she took the test.
On Sept. 13, the Emmy-winning actress was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, plus a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and a year of supervised release.
After serving 11 days of her 14-day sentence, Huffman left the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, on Oct. 25.
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