Lori Loughlin released on $1 million bond in college admissions bribery scandal

ABC/Eric McCandless
ABC/Eric McCandless

(LOS ANGELES) — Actress Lori Loughlin was released on one million dollars bond Wednesday after appearing in a Los Angeles court on charges she and her husband are part of a $25 million college admissions scam, described as the largest ever prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.

According to the indictment, revealed Tuesday, Loughlin, 54, and her 55-year-old husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the [University of Southern California] crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”

Loughlin, who flew to Los Angeles Tuesday night from Canada, where she had been working on a film, was taken into custody by the FBI just before noon.  Following a subsequent court appearance with her attorneys, the former Full House star was released on $1 million bond. 

Loughlin’s husband and co-defendant, Giannulli, appeared Tuesday and was also ordered to pay a separate $1 million bond and surrender his passport.  Unlike her husband, the judge allowed Loughlin to retain her passport until the end of the year so she could travel to Vancouver, BC for scheduled work.

Loughlin and Giannulli are due back in court March 29. 

Loughlin and former Desperate Housewives star fellow actress Felicity Huffman are among 33 parents charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in the nationwide scam to get their children into elite colleges, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California. Huffman is alleged to have  “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 … to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,” according to the indictment. 

Huffman appeared court Tuesday and was released on $250,000 bond after surrendering her passport.  Her next court date is March 29.

Announcing the indictments Tuesday — the result of an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues — Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said the parents charged represent “a catalog of wealth and privilege.”

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