Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli Plead Not Guilty In College Cheating Scandal

Apr 15, 2019
Originally published on April 15, 2019 5:50 pm

Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, entered not guilty pleas Monday in federal court in Boston.

Both waived their right to appear in court for arraignment.

Federal prosecutors announced additional charges last week against Loughlin, Giannulli and 14 other wealthy parents. They face one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest-services mail and wire fraud, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Loughlin is best known for playing the role of Aunt Becky on Full House. Giannulli's Mossimo brand was a core clothing label at Target until 2017.

Giannulli and Loughlin are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes arranged by college admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew team, despite neither of them being a rower.

According to the Justice Department's superseding indictment, Giannulli and Loughlin made payments in 2016 and 2017 to former USC Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel and to Key Worldwide Foundation, which was operated by Singer.

The indictment paints a picture of how the Justice Department built its case:

"On or about November 29, 2018, Singer called Loughlin from Boston, Massachusetts. During the call, Singer said, in sum and substance, that [Key Worldwide Foundation] was being audited by the IRS, which was asking about the two payments of $200,000 by the Giannullis. Singer added: 'So I just want to make sure that you know that, one, that you're probably going to get a call and that I have not told them anything about the girls going through the side door, through crew, ever though they didn't do crew to get into USC. So I—that is—all I told them was that you guys made a donation to our foundation to help underserved kids.' Loughlin replied, 'Um-hmm.' "

The couple's older daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, is a beauty vlogger with nearly 2 million subscribers. Since her parents' arrest, she has lost deals with Sephora and TRESemmé.

Last week, other parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, announced that they would enter guilty pleas to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.