Lori Loughlin surrenders on federal charges; daughter apologizes for video saying, ‘I don’t really care about school’
“It’s so hard to try in school when you don’t care about anything you’re learning.”
That tweet, posted by Olivia Jade Giannulli in 2017, is making headlines following news her mother, actress Lori Loughlin, faces federal charges in a scam that claims wealthy parents paid millions to get their kids into good colleges under false pretenses.
According to authorities, Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, who were both indicted, “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” federal documents state.
One of the daughters is 19-year-old Olivia Jade who answered a question in a video on her Youtube channel about starting college.
“The whole college thing, yup, I’m going. With work it’s going to be hard, like my first week of school I’m leaving to go to Fiji for work, and then I’ll be in New York a bunch this year for work, and traveling to a different country because I’m creating something with this country, and that’s for work. So, I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend…But I do want the experience of game days, partying, I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”
The teen later apologized, saying “I said something super ignorant and stupid, basically. And it totally came across that I’m ungrateful for college — I’m going to a really nice school. And it just kind of made it seem like I don’t care, I just want to brush it off. I’m just gonna be successful at YouTube and not have to worry about school,” she said in the video. “I’m really disappointed in myself.”
“I didn’t mean it that way,” she added. “I’m sorry for anyone I offended by saying that. I know it’s a privilege and a blessing and I’m really grateful.”
TMZ is reporting that Loughlin will turn herself in Wednesday.
According to TMZ, the FBI showed up at her doorstep early Tuesday morning. Lori was shooting in Vancouver at the time. TMZ reports FBI agents arrested her husband in the college bribery scam.
A magistrate judge set a $1 million bond for Giannulli and ordered him to surrender his passport.
Loughlin’s attorneys requested similar conditions for the actress even though she was not present in court.
Prosecutors agreed to those terms, which will allow her to travel to Vancouver for work.
FBI officials says Loughlin is in custody Wednesday in Los Angeles.
She is scheduled to appear in court there in the afternoon.
TMZ reports agents stormed Felicity Huffman’s home in Hollywood Hills Tuesday with guns drawn.
Huffman, an Academy Award nominee, has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to court paperwork filed Monday in federal court in Massachusetts.
She appeared Tuesday in a federal court in Los Angeles and a judge set bond for her at $250,000. Under the terms of her bond, Huffman also surrendered her passport.
Her next court date has been set for March 29 in Boston.
Huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to William Rick Singer’s fake charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the complaint says.
The documents claim that money got her daughter a 1420 SAT score, 400 points over her PSAT.
The scheme had two major pieces.
In the first part, parents allegedly paid a college prep organization to take the test on behalf of students or to correct their answers.
Second, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their abilities, prosecutors said.
Federal court documents also allege that some defendants created fake athletic profiles for students to make them appear to be successful athletes.
In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation that went by the name “Operation Varsity Blues.”
Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, according to Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts.
The parents, Lelling said, were a “catalog of wealth and privilege,” including actors, CEOs, a fashion designer and the co-chairman of a global law firm.
“This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud,” Lelling said. “There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add that there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.”
He added, “For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, a genuinely talented student was rejected.”
The fallout was swift Tuesday as several college coaches and one administrator were either fired or placed on administrative leave. At least one school launched an internal investigation.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta said the parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee admissions for their children.
Coaches from Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated in the case. The extensive case involved arrests in six states across the country.
The criminal accusations stretch from 2011 to 2019.