Loughlin, Giannulli plead not guilty in college bribery scam

FILE - In this April 3, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, front, and husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, left, depart federal court in Boston after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. Loughlin and her husband Giannulli said in court documents Monday, April 15, 2019, that they are pleading not guilty to charges that they took part in a sweeping college admissions bribery scam. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON — "Full House" actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that they paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California.

The couple is among 50 prominent parents, athletic coaches and others charged in a sweeping college admissions bribery scam that has embroiled elite school across the country, such as Stanford, Georgetown and Yale.

Loughlin and Giannulli filed court documents Monday waiving their right to appear for an arraignment and entering not guilty pleas to the two charges against them. The judge granted their requests, meaning they will not have to show up at Boston's federal court to be arraigned.

Thirty-three wealthy parents were charged last month in what authorities have called the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. They are accused of paying admissions consultant Rick Singer to rig standardized test scores and bribe college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools.

Loughlin and Giannulli are charged with paying bribes to have their daughters designated as crew recruits to USC, even though neither of them is a rower. Authorities say Loughlin and Giannulli helped create fake athletic profiles for the teens by sending Singer photos of their teens posing on rowing machines.

After their older daughter was admitted to USC, authorities say Giannulli, whose Mossimo clothing had long been a Target brand until recently, sent Singer an email with the subject line, "Trojan happiness," thanking him for his "efforts and end result!"

Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky on the sitcom "Full House," and Giannulli haven't publicly addressed the allegations against them.

Their daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli — a social media star who has a popular YouTube channel — was dropped from deals with cosmetics retailer Sephora and hair products company TRESemme after her parents' arrest.

Prosecutors last week added a money laundering conspiracy charge against Loughlin, Giannulli and more than a dozen other parents who are still fighting the case, increasing the pressure on them to plead guilty. Several other parents who were indicted alongside Loughlin and Giannulli have also filed court documents entering not guilty pleas.

Each of the charges Loughlin and Giannulli faces call for up to 20 years in prison, although first-time offenders would get only a small fraction of that if convicted.

Fellow actress Felicity Huffman, who starred in ABC's "Desperate Housewives," and 12 other parents announced last week that they have agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Huffman is scheduled to appear in Boston on May 21 to enter her plea.

Prosecutors have said they will seek a prison sentence on the low end of four to 10 months for Huffman, who was charged with paying $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT score.

On Friday, a former Florida prep school administrator pleaded guilty to taking entrance exams for students, or correcting their answers, as part of the scam. Prosecutors have said they will seek between 33 to 41 months in prison for Mark Riddell, a Harvard graduate oversaw college entrance exam preparation at IMG Academy.

____

Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkinricher

People also read these

6-time champs Djokovic, Williams post Australian...

Jan 17, 2017

The record will show that six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic...

Comeback kid? Tommy Haas, 38, returns for proper...

Jan 18, 2017

Tommy Haas isn't worrying too much about his post-retirement plans when he finally hangs up his...

Chinese sportswear brand makes inroads in tennis...

Jan 20, 2017

Svetlana Kuznetsova has a different look than most tennis players

With favorites out, Raonic has opening for slam...

Jan 23, 2017

Not every tennis player quotes from Goethe on Twitter, keeps a journal and visits art exhibitions...

Australia quick Mennie suffers head injury during...

Jan 24, 2017

Australia fast bowler Joe Mennie has been admitted to hospital with a fractured skull and bleeding...

Get your 24-hour live updates here in Ultimate Sports Daily. We deliver content from all regions so that you won’t miss out on any single event.

Contact us: sales[at]ultimatesportsdaily.com