Lori Laughlin and Ten Others Charged with Additional Penalties for Federal Program Bribery
Photo: Lori Laughlin (MATTHEW HEALEY/UPI/Newscom)
CELEBRITY/LOS ANGELES – “Fuller House” star Lori Laughlin and 10 others, including her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, are looking at some serious charges handed down Oct. 22nd in Massachusetts. The “Varsity Blues” USC college scandal’s list of charges is growing by leaps and bounds.
Eleven defendants – Gamal Abdelaziz, Diane Blake, Todd Blake, Mossimo Giannulli, Elisabeth Kimmell, Lori Loughlin, William McGlashan, Jr., Marci Palatella, John Wilson, Homayoun Zadeh, and Robert Zangrillo – are charged with allegedly conspiring to commit federal program bribery “by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission.
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,” according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
A grand jury in the District of Massachusetts has returned additional charges against 11 of the 15 parents charged in the college admissions case in the third superseding indictment since March 2019.
A federal programs bribery charge has a potential 10-year prison sentence, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. A federal district court judge would inpose the sentences based on guidelines and statutory factors.
As a reminder of the other charges, “The defendants, all of whom were arrested in March 2019, were previously charged with conspiring with William “Rick” Singer and others, 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,” said U.S. Attys. “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.”
U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. The Department of Education, Office of Inspector General provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright and Kristen A. Kearney of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case.
Arraignment dates have not been set at this time. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until the allegations in the charging documents are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.