BOSTON (CN) – Upping the ante in the sprawling college cheating case, federal prosecutors brought money-laundering charges Tuesday against actress Lori Loughlin and 15 other parents.
Three coaches are also named as defendants in the superseding indictment filed today in Boston where dozens of people were charged last month with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The Justice Department announced just one day earlier that 13 of the implicated parents, including “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, were pleading guilty.
Their pleas follow an admission by Edge College & Career Network founder Rick Singer that wealthy parents paid him millions to get their children into the schools of their choice. Singer had connections that were able to manipulate individual scores on the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams and to falsely designate clients’ children as student-athletes to lower the academic threshold they would face as college applicants.
The money-laundering charges stems from large, tax-deductible donations that Singer took in through his nonprofit, the Key Worldwide Foundation. Prosecutors say Singer used the organization to funnel bribes from parents to the coaches and other co-conspirators on his payroll.
Loughlin’s husband, Mossimo Giannulli, is said in the indictment to have wired $200,000 to Singer’s nonprofit twice to get their daughters onto the University of Southern California’s crew team.
Plea hearings for Huffman and other defendants in the case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” have not yet been scheduled.
In addition to Giannulli and Loughlin, best known for her turn as Aunt Becky on the sitcom “Full House,” defendants now facing money-laundering charges are David Sidoo, Gregory Colburn, Amy Colburn, Gamal Abdelaziz, Diane Blake, Todd Blake, I-Hsin “Joey” Chen, Elizabeth Henriquez, Manuel Henriquez, Douglas Hodge, Michelle Janavs, Elisabeth Kimmel, William McGlashan Jr., Marci Palatella, John Wilson, Homayoun Zadeh and Robert Angrillo.
Mail-fraud and money-laundering conspiracy charges provide for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, plus six-figure fines.