On Tuesday, USA Today reported that there's been a significant update in the college admissions scandal, with Full House star Lori Loughlin and more than a dozen other parents being indicted on money laundering charges in connection with the alleged scheme. The news comes a month after the Justice Department arrested 50 people for allegedly participating in a plot to bribe college officials to admit certain students.
"Sixteen parents involved in the college admissions scandal were charged today in Boston in a second superseding indictment with conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to use bribery to cheat on college entrance exams and to facilitate their children’s admission to selective colleges and universities as purported athletic recruits," the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced in a statement Tuesday.
These parents, all of whom had been named in the original March indictments as well, were also charged Tuesday with "conspiring to launder the bribes and other payments in furtherance of the fraud," the attorney's office said. Loughlin's husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, was among those charged on Tuesday.
According to the Justice Department, the alleged scheme involved parents bribing various officials to ensure that their children would be admitted to various colleges, including Yale, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest University, Georgetown, the University of San Diego and others.
"These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege," U.S Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said at a press conference in March, NPR reported at the time, when the original indictments were announced. "Based on the charges unsealed today, all of them knowingly conspired to help their children either cheat on the SAT or ACT and or buy their children's admission to elite schools through fraud."
Federal authorities say that William Singer, who ran a college counseling service, was central to the alleged scheme. Singer, who was charged in March with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice, is accused of bribing SAT and ACT test administrators to allow others to secretly take exams instead of the students, or alternatively, to have students' wrong test answers corrected after the fact, the Justice Department said.
The department says that Singer also falsified the athletic credentials of students in order to position them as athletic recruits. And, in some instances, the Justice Department said, parents "supplied Singer with staged photos of their children engaged in athletic activity — such as using a rowing machine or purportedly playing water polo" in order to falsely depict them as elite athletes.
After the initial batch of indictments were announced, 13 parents and one coach pleaded guilty, CNN reported Tuesday. According to CNN, there were "no signs" that Loughlin intended to plead guilty as well, however.
Loughlin was charged on Tuesday with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts said. Her arraignment date hasn't yet been set.