Lori Loughlin, 15 Others Indicted On New Charges In College Admissions Scandal
Sixteen parents, including actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, face new charges in the college admissions scandal that has already snared dozens of wealthy individuals. The Justice Department announced Tuesday that a second superseding indictment has charged them with money laundering and conspiring to commit fraud.
The indictment, which was handed down by a grand jury in Boston, comes just a day after 14 of their co-defendants — including actress Felicity Huffman, 12 other parents and one coach — said they would plead guilty to playing a role in the alleged multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat the college admissions process through fraud and bribery.
All told, 50 individuals have been charged in the scandal — 33 of them were parents allegedly seeking to boost their children's admissions prospects through doctored standardized tests and bribes to college athletics coaches. The alleged ringleader, William "Rick" Singer, pleaded guilty last month to charges ranging from racketeering conspiracy to obstruction of justice.
Already accused of participating in the scheme, the 16 parents facing new charges Tuesday also allegedly sought to disguise that participation.
According to a statement released by federal officials, the individuals laundered their payments "by funneling them through Singer's purported charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the United States, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme."
The indictment significantly escalates the legal jeopardy and potential consequences that these 16 parents face. Each of the new charges — one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud — carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least $250,000.
In its statement, the Justice Department identified the 16 parents included in Tuesday's indictment:
1. Gamal Abdelaziz, 62, aka "Gamal Aziz," of Las Vegas, Nev.;
2. Diane Blake, 55, of Ross, Calif.;
3. Todd Blake, 53, of Ross, Calif.;
4. I-Hsin "Joey" Chen, 64, of Newport Beach, Calif.;
5. Mossimo Giannulli, 55, of Los Angeles, Calif.;
6. Elizabeth Henriquez, 56, of Atherton, Calif.;
7. Manuel Henriquez, 56, of Atherton, Calif.;
8. Douglas Hodge, 61, of Laguna Beach, Calif.;
9. Michelle Janavs, 48, of Newport Coast, Calif.;
10. Elisabeth Kimmel, 54, of Las Vegas, Nev.;
11. Lori Loughlin, 54, of Los Angeles, Calif.;
12. William McGlashan, Jr., 55, of Mill Valley, Calif.;
13. Marci Palatella, 63, of Hillsborough, Calif.;
14. John Wilson, 59, of Lynnfield, Mass.;
15. Homayoun Zadeh, 57, of Calabasas, Calif.; and
16. Robert Zangrillo, 52, of Miami, Fla.
Loughlin, an actress formerly starring on Full House, is perhaps the most widely known figure among the co-defendants. Prosecutors have accused her and her husband of conspiring to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California, paying Singer and others to have the daughters falsely portrayed as recruits to the women's crew team.
Last month the university announced that the academic status of students associated with the case has been placed on hold, preventing them from registering for classes or withdrawing from the school while the school has placed them under review.
But Loughlin and Giannulli were far from alone in the new indictment. Others include several senior executives of private investment and real estate firms, as well as magnates in the fields of shipping, food and media.
Their arraignment date has not yet been scheduled.
The indictment closely follows the announcement that more than a dozen of their co-defendants have decided to plead guilty to their own charges, in accordance with plea agreements. Among them was Huffman, a longtime television actress in her own right.
"My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life," Huffman said in a statement of apology released Monday. "My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.