Photograph by Matt Madd

Photoshopping one kid’s face onto another kid’s pole-vault picture is almost always funny. One exception is when a media executive pays $200,000 for the job as part of a scam that gets her kid into the University of Southern California. It spoils the humor even more if she disguises the payoff as charity to claim a tax break.

That’s one allegation among many in a sprawling college-admissions scandal unveiled this past week. An investigation by more than 200 federal agents led to charges against 50 people in six states. Parents had test administrators bribed. They claimed that their

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