Lori Loughlin and 15 other parents face new charges in college admissions bribery scandal
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged 'Full House' star Lori Loughlin and 15 other parents who have not said they would plead guilty with new money laundering charges in the college admissions bribery scandal. Combined with the previous charges, they each could face up to 40 years in prison, according to a press release by the US Department of Justice:
"The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
"The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering."
The FBI charged 50 individuals total for their involvement in a $25 million scheme to get the privileged children of wealthy parents into prestigious American colleges through cheating and bribery. Orchestrated by Newport Beach businessman Rick Singer, the scheme was two-fold: paying proctors to inflate student's SAT/ACT scores, and bribing university officials to falsely designate and recruit the students as star athletes.
The 33 wealthy parents charged include various high-ranking executives from the worlds of real estate, private equity, insurance, fashion and food manufacturing - plus two Hollywood actresses, who, due to their fame, have become the face of the scandal.
Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, who did not participate in rowing, admitted to the University of Southern California as star recruits to the women’s crew team.
Following the charges, The Hallmark Channel cut ties with Loughlin, and Sephora cut ties with her youngest daughter, beauty vlogger Olivia Jade Giannulli, who stated in one old video, "I do want the experience of game days [and] partying. I don't really care about school." USC has placed all students involved with the scandal on academic hold, blocking them from class registration.
Meanwhile, 'Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to facilitate cheating on her daughter's SAT by bribing a proctor to correct her answers afterward. As a result, Huffman's daughter scored a 1420 out of a maximum 1600, which is 400 points higher than her score on the PSAT one year earlier. Her husband, actor William H. Macy has not been charged, as Huffman was the one conspiring with Singer through multiple email exchanges and recorded phone calls.
Yesterday Huffman and 12 wealthy parents said that they plead guilty guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. (And one individual said he will plead guilty to an additional charge, money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the IRS for claiming a tax deduction on the bribe.)
"I am pleading guilty to the charge brought against me by the United States Attorney’s Office," Huffman said in a statement. "I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions."
"I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community," she continued. "I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly."
As US Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference, "For every student admitted through fraud an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected."