Lori Loughlin, other parents face new charges in admissions scandal

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Eleven parents charged in the “Varsity blues” college admissions scandal, including actress Lori Loughlin, are facing an additional bribery charge, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts announced Tuesday.

Loughlin was charged alongside her husband Mossimo Giannulli and Gamal Abdelaziz, Diane Blake, Todd Blake, Elisabeth Kimmell, William McGlashan Jr., Marci Palatella, John Wilson, Homayoun Zadeh, and Robert Zangrillo.

The parents each allegedly “conspired to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission,” according to the Department of Justice’s Tuesday statement. 

{mosads} “In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities – or as members of other favored admissions categories,” the statement continued.

Another defendant, John Wilson of Lynfield, Mass., is facing two counts of substantive federal programs bribery “in connection with his efforts to use bribes to secure his children’s admission to Harvard University and Stanford University,” the statement said. 

The defendants were all arrested in March and charged over a scheme in which they allegedly conspired to bribe SAT and ACT exam administrators in exchange for advantages and better scores on the college entrance exams. The defendants also faced a number of charges, such as “conspiring to launder the bribes and other payment.”

Seven college coaches and others who have pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges have also been charged with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and “honest services mail and wire fraud” in connection with the scheme, according to another Tuesday statement. The defendants are Gordon Ernst, Donna Heinel, Jorge Salcedo, Mikaela Sanford, Jovan Vavic, Niki Williams and William Ferguson.

All of the defendants other than Ferguson “also face substantive wire and honest services wire fraud charges in connection with the scheme.” Ernst, Heinel and Salcedo, face new charges of conspiring to commit federal programs bribery, according to the statement.

The news comes one day after a California couple, Manuel Henriquez and Elizabeth Henriquez, pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges. The scheme would’ve allowed their daughters’ college entrance exams to be corrected and to list one of their daughters as a purported athletic recruit to Georgetown University. 

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