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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 21, 2020

California Couple in College Admissions Case Sentenced to Prison

BOSTON – Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli were sentenced to two months and five months in prison, respectively, in connection with securing the fraudulent admission of their two daughters to the University of Southern California (USC) as purported athletic recruits.

Loughlin, 56, of Los Angeles, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to two months in prison, two years of supervised release during which time she must complete 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of $150,000. Giannulli, 57, was sentenced by Judge Gorton to five months in prison, two years of supervised release during which time he must complete 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay a fine of $250,000.

In May 2020, Loughlin entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and Giannulli entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

In 2016, Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to have William “Rick” Singer facilitate their older daughter’s admission to USC as a purported crew recruit. In an August 2016 email, Singer told Loughlin and Giannulli that he would “create a coxswain profile.” Giannulli emailed Singer a picture of his older daughter purporting to row on an ergometer for inclusion in the falsified profile.

Giannulli further agreed to make purported charitable contributions totaling $250,000 as a quid pro quo to facilitate his daughter’s fraudulent admission to USC. Giannulli caused $50,000 to be paid to an account belong to the USC athletics administrator and paid $200,000 to Singer’s sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF). Giannulli forwarded the invoice from KWF to his financial advisor writing: “Good news my daughter [ ] is in [U]SC . . . bad [news] is I had to work the system.” 

In 2017, Loughlin and Giannulli agreed with Singer to facilitate their younger daughter’s admission to USC as a purported crew recruit even though she too had never participated in the sport. In July 2017, Singer emailed Giannulli and Loughlin telling them he would “build an athletic profile for USC” and noted that he would falsely present her as a coxswain. Shortly thereafter, Giannulli, copying Loughlin, emailed Singer a photograph of their younger daughter on an ergometer. 

In November 2017, Singer emailed Loughlin and Giannulli a “likely letter” stating that their younger daughter had been provisionally admitted to USC as an athletic recruit. Loughlin, copying Giannulli, responded: “This is wonderful news!” 

Thereafter, Giannulli caused $50,000 to be paid to a USC athletic account controlled by the USC athletic administrator and $200,000 to be paid to KWF. Giannulli forwarded the KWF invoice to his financial advisor, noting that it was “the last college ‘donation’ for” his daughter, and asking, “Can’t I write this off?”

Singer has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Loughlin and Giannulli are the 21st and 22nd parents to be sentenced in the college admissions case.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Joleen Simpson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Mark Deckett, Resident Agent in Charge of the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney, Stephen E. Frank and Karin M. Bell of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated August 21, 2020