Federal authorities allege that the actress and fashion designer paid William “Rick” Singer $500,000 to get Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella Giannulli, 20, into the university. Singer funneled money to associates, who got the girls designated as athletic recruits despite their lack of athletic history.
A source told Us Weekly that Olivia Jade, a YouTube star who has lost brand partnerships in the wake of the charges against her parents, knew all along what her parents did.
“Olivia fully knew what her parents did to get her into USC, but didn’t think there was anything wrong with it,” the source alleged. “She didn’t get into any other California schools.”
Another source said that the teen “has been very supportive of her parents” through the ordeal.
“She now knows that this is very serious and has been calling her mom and dad every day to check in and see what is the latest with the upcoming court dates,” the source said.
Loughlin and Giannulli are facing up to 40 years in prison each as well as fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars after being charged with conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
Department of Justice investigators said that some of the children of the 33 parents involved in the scheme knew what was happening while others did not. No children have been charged as of yet.
Information presented by the department (pdf) indicates that Olivia Jade was one of the children aware of the scheme.
Investigators said they obtained an email Giannulli sent to Singer that showed Olivia Jade on an ergometer. Then, she was copied on an email from Loughlin to Singer that requested guidance on how the family should complete the formal application to USC after she was provisionally accepted as a crew recruit. Loughlin also referred to the sketchy way her daughter got into the school.
“[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 at [her high school]. Can you tell us how to proceed?” Loughlin wrote.
Singer directed an associate, Mark Riddell, to fill out and submit the applications on behalf of Olivia Jade, according to investigators.
Donna Heinel, the USC senior associate athletic director at the time, called Giannulli a few months later, in April 2018, telling him in a voicemail that he should give instructions to both his daughters after he spoke to their high school counselor expressing concern that Olivia Jade’s admission offer to USC might be rescinded.
“I just want to make sure that, you know, I don’t want the—the parents getting angry and creating any type of disturbance at the school. I just want to make sure those students … if questioned at the school that they respond in an appropriate way that they are, walk-on candidates for their respective sports. They’re looking forward to trying out for the team and making the team when they get here. Okay?” she said.
“That what I just want to make sure of. So I just don’t want anybody going into [the Giannullis’ daughters’ high school], you know, yelling at counselors. That’ll shut everything down.”