Published: Wed, October 23, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

New 'Varsity Blues' charges affect 11 parents, including Lori Loughlin

New 'Varsity Blues' charges affect 11 parents, including Lori Loughlin

With these new charges added to previous ones, the defendants who insist on their innocence and have rejected plea offers now face up to 45 years in prison if found guilty on all counts. Their daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli, are not now enrolled at USC, the university said Monday. Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty.

Loughlin and her husband are accused of shelling out $500,000 in bribes to Singer, who had a network of illicit cohorts, to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California by passing the teens off as crew athletes.

Lori Laughlin is out on a $1 million bond after having been slapped with an additional money laundering charge after she plead not guilty on April 9.

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling told the Associated Press in a statement that he plans to hold the defendants "fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud". While it had been reported since the scandal that the pair had left the university, this wasn't confirmed until USC's statement on Monday.

Court documents show that Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid William Rick Singer and his Key Worldwide Foundation $400,000 to make it appear that Olive Jade and Isabella Rose were crew recruits.

The charge of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery can lead to a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of US$250,000.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, were among dozens of wealthy parents charged earlier this year for allegedly taking part in a multi-level plot wherein well-off couples paid copious amounts in bribe money to ease their children's paths into top-ranking universities.

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Tuesday's charges represent prosecutors making good on their warning, communicated to numerous defendants in the case last week, that they would be saddled with more charges if they didn't plead guilty by Monday. No additional information regarding their status was provided, with the university citing student privacy laws, according to the outlet.

The couple were just indicted "on a charge of conspiring to commit federal programs bribery", according to Variety.

Others indicted on the new charge include William McGlashan, who co-founded an investment fund with U2 singer Bono in 2017, and Robert Zangrillo, a prominent Miami real estate developer. That has some speculating that the actress, who has pleaded not guilty, may end up changing course and taking a plea deal to avoid a trial.

She began her prison sentence on October 15.

Felicity Huffman is now serving a two-week sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., a minimum security facility.

In August, USC officials announced that a case-by-case review of 33 students potentially connected to the situation was underway, with some reviews already completed, and that they had denied admission to applicants with a connection.

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