Oct. 22 (UPI) — Actor Lori Loughlin, her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and nine other parents each face additional bribery charges related to their alleged roles in a college admissions scandal, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
A grand jury returned a third superseding indictment against the 11 defendants, charging them with conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.
Prosecutors said they bribed officials at the University of Southern California to help their children be admitted to the school as athletic recruits, even though the potential students didn’t previously participate in the sports or have sufficient ability.
One of the parents, John Wilson, of Lynnfield, Mass., faced an additional two counts of substantive federal programs bribery.
Loughlin and Giannulli each pleaded not guilty in April to money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud. Prosecutors said they paid $500,000 in bribes to secure their daughters’ admissions to USC through its rowing team. Neither girl participated in the sport.
Those charges carried up to 20 years in prison. The new bribery count carries a a sentence of up to five years in prison.
More than four dozen people have been charged in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, including actor Felicity Huffman. They’re accused of paying more than $25 million collectively to mastermind William “Rick” Singer to promote their children as fake athletes with scholarships or to cheat on the SATs and ACTs. So far, more than 23 people, including parents, coaches and Singer have pleaded guilty to felonies.
Huffman reported to a prison in California on Tuesday to serve a 14-day sentence.