Saturday 21 September 2019

Lori Loughlin facing money laundering charge over college admissions scheme

The actress and her husband are among the prominent parents under investigation.

Actress Lori Loughlin, front, and husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, left, depart federal court in Boston (Steven Senne/AP)
Actress Lori Loughlin, front, and husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, left, depart federal court in Boston (Steven Senne/AP)

By Alanna Durkin Richer, Associated Press

Full House star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other parents have been hit with a new money laundering charge in the sweeping college admissions bribery scheme.

The move comes a day after fellow actress Felicity Huffman, 12 other parents and a coach agreed to plead guilty, signalling an escalation in the case against the parents who are continuing to fight the allegations against them.

Loughlin and Giannulli were among 33 prominent parents accused of participating in a scheme that involved rigging college entrance exams and bribing coaches at elite universities.

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Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman (AP)

They were arrested last month on a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

An indictment brought on Tuesday adds a charge of money laundering conspiracy against the couple and 14 other parents.

Amy and Gregory Colburn, a California couple accused of paying 25,000 US dollars to cheat on their son’s SAT, were indicted on the money laundering and mail fraud conspiracy charges last month.

The parents are accused of paying an admissions consultant, Rick Singer, to cheat on their children’s college entrance exams and get their children admitted as athletic recruits at such elite schools as Georgetown and Yale.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying 500,000 dollars in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport.

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Actress Lori Loughlin (Steven Senne/AP)

They appeared in Boston federal court briefly last week and were not asked to enter a plea.

They have not publicly addressed the allegations against them.

Other parents indicted on the new charge include Michelle Janavs, whose family developed the microwave snack line Hot Pockets before selling their company, and William McGlashan, who co-founded an investment fund with U2’s Bono in 2017.

Huffman, the 56-year-old Emmy-winner who stared in ABC’s Desperate Housewives, was accused of paying 15,000 dollars disguised as a charitable donation to have a proctor correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT.

She and the 12 other parents agreed to plead guilty on Monday to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty Felicity Huffman

Prosecutors say they will seek a prison sentence that is on the low end of between four and 10 months for Huffman.

In her first public comments since her arrest, Huffman took responsibility for her actions and said she would accept the consequences.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her.

“This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life.

“My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty,” she said after her plea deal was announced.

PA Media

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