Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

College admissions scandal: Lori Loughlin and 15 other parents hit with more charges

The release date for Felicity Huffman's new Netflix film has also been paused, in the wake of court developments

Actress Lori Loughlin has been hit with fresh charges in the college admissions scandal. Reuters
Actress Lori Loughlin has been hit with fresh charges in the college admissions scandal. Reuters

Federal prosecutors have added money laundering to the list of accusations against actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other prominent parents in the college admissions scandal .

Loughlin, who starred in the sitcom Full House, and Giannulli are among 33 wealthy parents accused of participating in a scheme that involved rigging college entrance exams and bribing coaches at top universities. The new charges come a day after Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, 12 other parents and a coach agreed to plead guilty.

The parents 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 Loughlin, Giannulli and the 14 other parents.

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.

McGlashan's attorney John Hueston said Tuesday the case against him "is deeply flawed".

"We look forward to presenting his side of the story," Hueston said. Loughlin, Giannulli and Janavs did not respond to requests for comment.

The parents charged in the case 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 schools including Georgetown and Yale. It's the largest such scheme ever prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 (Dh1.83 million) in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport.

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

Huffman film shelved

Emmy winner Huffman, 56, was accused of paying $15,000 disguised as a charitable donation to have a proctor correct the answers on her daughter's SAT exam. She and the 12 other parents agreed on Monday to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Prosecutors say they will seek a prison sentence that's on the low end of between four and 10 months for Huffman, who is scheduled to appear in Boston's federal court on May 24 to plead guilty.

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.

In the wake of the scandal, Netflix has postponed the release of Otherhood, a film starring Huffman that was due to air from April 26. The romantic comedy, which also stars Patricia Arquette and Angela Bassett, has not yet been given a new release date.

Updated: April 10, 2019 10:44 AM

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