Texans accused in Operation Varsity Blues scandal making first appearance Monday

BOSTON, Massachusetts (KTRK) -- The nationwide college admissions bribery scandal, also known as the Operation Varsity Blues, heads to court on Monday.

Three Texans will be among the dozen or so defendants in the scandal showing up for their first court hearing in a federal courtroom in Boston.

While the most high profile defendants, Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are not scheduled to appear until April, a number of other defendants are expected at the 1:30 p.m. hearing.

All defendants allegedly played a role in getting wealthy parents' children to elite universities in exchange for money.

Among the Texans scheduled to appear is former longtime University of Texas tennis Coach Michael Center.

The two Houstonians who will also face a federal judge are former Yates High School teaching assistant Niki Williams and well known local tennis coach Martin Fox.

Over the weekend, Fox's attorney, David Gerger, issued the following statement to Eyewitness News:

"Martin has helped thousands of kids get involved in sports over the last 30 years. We are confident that he does not belong on this indictment."

Some of the wealthy parents accused of paying bribes to get their kids into top universities may get short stints behind bars, if convicted, to send a message that the privileged are not above the law, some lawyers say. But others predict that most, if not all, will end up with probation and a fine, particularly if they quickly agree to accept responsibility and cooperate, which observers anticipate many will do.

"If the parents are well represented, it is reasonable to expect that possibly none will go to jail," said former federal prosecutor Jacob Frenkel. "These are not the type of offenses for which judges exercising their discretion would normally put people in jail," he said.

The parents ensnared in what prosecutors have called the biggest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department include Loughlin and Huffman. Other parents are prominent figures in law, finance, fashion, the food and beverage industry, and other fields.

(The Associated Press contributed to this post)

Follow Miya Shay on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.