Lori Loughlin Taken Into Custody After Indictment in College Bribery Scheme

By Zachary Stieber

Actress Lori Loughlin was taken into custody on March 13, a day after getting indicted in a nationwide college bribery scheme.

The FBI told the Associated Press that Loughlin surrendered to agents in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning. Law enforcement sources told TMZ that she made prior arrangements for her surrender.

FBI agents went to her house on Tuesday to serve a warrant, but she wasn’t there. On the same day, actress Felicity Hoffman was arrested by agents with guns drawn.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said that Loughlin, best known for her role in “Full House” and “Fuller House,” was slated to appear in federal court in L.A. at 2 p.m. local time.

Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was arrested on Tuesday and released on $1 million bond.

The pair are among 50 people charged in the scheme.

Prosecutors said that Loughlin and Giannulli paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, 20-year-old Isabella and 19-year-old Olivia Jade, into the University of Southern California.

The bribe facilitated officials there designating the girls as recruited athletes, but neither had real athletic experience, nor have they participated in sports since starting school.

Investigators obtained correspondence (pdf) between a person designated as “Cooperating Witness 1,” who participated in the scheme and was reportedly identified as William Singer, and Giannulli. That included a message after the older daughter was presented to the USC subcommittee for athletic admissions as a purported crew recruit on Oct. 27, 2016, that told the designer where to send a $50,000 payment.

Actress Lori Laughlin and husband/designer Mossimo Giannulli in Las Vegas on April 26, 2002. (Scott Harrison/Getty Images)

Several days later, Giannulli asked the person if he could mention the admission with then-USC Athletic Director, who he was going to see in Augusta. “I was planning on saying nothing? agree or okay to mention anything?”

The witness responded: “Best to keep [him] out of it. When I met with him a year ago about [your daughter] he felt you were good for a million plus.”

Singer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a slew of charges, including racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

After the older daughter was admitted, the person and the parents worked together again to get the younger daughter into the university through the same avenue.

(L-R) Isabella Giannulli, Lori Loughlin, and Olivia Giannulli attend the Teen Choice Awards 2017 at Galen Center in Los Angeles, California on Aug. 13, 2017. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

While Giannulli did most of the work for Isabella, Loughlin was more involved with getting Olivia Jade into the college, including sending an email to Singer and her daughter, asking his guidance on how to complete the formal USC application after Olivia Jade was accepted as a crew recruit.

“[Our younger daughter] has not submitted all her colleges [sic] apps and is confused on how to do so. I want to make sure she gets those in as I don’t want to call any attention to [her] with our little friend as [her high school]. Can you tell us how to proceed?” Loughlin wrote.

Loughlin’s younger daughter spoke several times about not being invested in school even while attending USC.

In one tweet in 2017, Olivia Jade wrote, “It’s so hard to try in school when you don’t care about anything you’re learning.”

In a video she recorded shortly after being accepted in USC, Olivia Jade said: “I don’t know how much school I’m going to attend but I’m going to go in and talk to my deans and everyone, hope that I can try to balance it all.”

“But I do want the experience of game days and partying,” she added. “I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”