Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are pleading not guilty in the college admission bribery scandal.
The couple are among 33 charged in the widespread scam, in which parents were accused of using their wealth to get their children into elite colleges.
Loughlin and Giannulli face charges for allegedly paying a $500,000 bribe to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as members of the crew team, though they did not participate in crew. The couple were also charged with a single felony count of mail fraud.
Last week, Loughlin and 16 parents were indicted with charges of money laundering. According to the indictment, Loughlin and Giannuli paid $200,000 per child to a fake charity set up by admissions consultant William Rick Singer. They also paid $50,000 per child to Donna Heinel, a senior associate athletic director at USC, prosecutors allege. Prosecutors allege that the charity was set up to launder bribe payments, and some were accused of writing off the payments as charitable deductions on taxes.
After the scandal broke, Loughlin was dropped by the Hallmark Channel, where she regularly appeared on the series “When Calls the Heart.”
Actress Felicity Huffman and a dozen other parents will plead guilty in the scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last week. Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 to boost her daughters SAT scores.
The former “Desperate Housewives” is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and announced last week she will plead guilty.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” Huffman said in a statement. “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”
Huffman and Giannulli were arrested on March 12, and made an initial appearance in Los Angeles federal court. A judge ordered Giannulli released on $1 million bail, while Huffman was let go on a $250,000 bond. Loughlin, who had been shooting “When Calls the Heart” in Vancouver at the time of the arrests, surrendered to the FBI the following day. She too was released on a $1 million bond.