Federal prosecutors filed a new spate of additional charges against several parents involved in the ongoing college admissions scandal on Tuesday–including Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli.
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Loughlin, Giannulli and nine other parents-defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery by allegedly bribing various employees of the University of Southern California (USC) in order to get their wealthy children admitted to the prestigious private research university.
“In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities – or as members of other favored admissions categories,” the release accuses.
As Law&Crime previously reported, Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted in March of this year for allegedly working with William “Rick” Singer to create and promote fake athletic rowing profiles in order to sweeten their daughters’ college applications.
College Rowing is a competitive NCAA sport wherein a crew rows a boat called a racing shell using oars and attempts to beat other teams. A coxswain is the person in charge of navigating and coordinating the rowers–effectively a multi-person team’s coach.
The initial criminal complaint notes:
[Loughlin and Giannulli] agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team–despite the fact that they did not participate in crew–thereby facilitating their admission to USC.
“In an e-mail on or about July 24, 2016, [Singer] advised Giannulli that his older daughter’ s academic qualifications were at or just below the ‘low end’ of USC’s admission standards,” the complaint continues. “Thereafter, the Giannullis agreed with [Singer] to use bribes to facilitate her admission to USC as a recruited crew coxswain, even though she did not row competitively or otherwise participate in crew.”
Tuesday’s release offers a detailed run-down of the prior charges:
The defendants, all of whom were arrested in March 2019, were previously charged with conspiring…to bribe SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test taker to secretly take college entrance exams in place of their children, or to correct the children’s answers after they had taken the exams. The defendants were also previously charged with conspiring to launder the bribes and other payments in furtherance of the fraud by funneling them through Singer’s purported charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the United States, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme.
The new charges were handed down by a Massachusetts grand jury in a third superseding indictment.
“In or about 2016 and 2017, Giannulli and Loughlin agreed with Singer to pay an amount, ultimately totaling $500,000, to facilitate the admission of their two daughters to USC as purported crew recruits,” according to the new indictment. “Giannulli had previously been introduced to Singer by an unindicted co-conspirator.”
“The principal object of the USC federal programs bribery conspiracy was to commit federal programs bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666,” the indictment continues. “The principal purposes of the conspiracy included, among other things: (1) securing the admission of the defendants’ children to USC; (2) enriching Singer and the recipients of the bribes personally; and (3) concealing the bribery scheme.”
Additional charges were filed against various USC employees on Tuesday as well.
[Image via Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images]
Editor’s note: this article has been amended to reflect that USC is a private school.