LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Actress Lori Loughlin appeared in federal court Wednesday in Los Angeles in connection with a massive scheme in which parents are accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes in order to get their children admitted to elite universities.
Loughlin surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning and made her first appearance in U.S. district court in downtown L.A. on one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. She stood with her lawyer and didn’t speak except to answer “yes” to the judge’s questions, the Associated Press reported.
Magistrate Judge Steve Kim said Loughlin must limit her travel to the continental U.S. and areas around Vancouver, Canada, for work. She was later released on $1 million bond, the same amount on which her husband Mossimo Giannulli was released Tuesday.
Loughlin was filming in Vancouver, Canada, when the indictments came down Tuesday morning. Her attorney negotiated with authorities that she be taken into custody after flying back to the U.S.
Loughlin and fellow actress Felicity Huffman were among approximately 50 people indicted in a widespread and sophisticated college admission bribery scheme in which parents are accused of paying off college coaches and standardized testing administrators.
Loughlin and Giannulli, the founder of clothing brand Mossimo, paid $500,000 in order for their two daughters to be designated as recruits to the USC crew team, despite the fact that neither of them ever participated in crew, the indictment claims.
Both their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, are currently attending USC. It’s still unclear whether the allegations against their parents will affect their attendance at the school.
Giannulli made his court appearance Tuesday, where his bail was set at $1 million. He agreed to it on the condition his wife would be allowed to travel to Vancouver for work. He is using his home as collateral for the bond.
The racketeering conspiracy case includes 33 parents, as well nine coaches from universities that include USC, UCLA, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown. The entire operation was masterminded by William Singer of Newport Beach, authorities said.
The coaches were bribed by the parents to lie and say that the children were being considered as athletic recruits because the admissions process is generally less stringent for athletes, prosecutors said.
“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a Tuesday news conference in Boston. “They include, for example, CEOs of private and public companies, successful securities and real estate investors, two well known actresses, a famous fashion designer, and the co-chairman of a global law firm.”
Parents charged in the alleged scheme are accused of paying Singer a total of $25 million between 2011 and February 2019 for the arrangement. Singer used some of that money to bribe test administrators and college coaches. He would hire stand-ins to take SAT and ACT exams for the students, along with proctors to correct wrong answers. He would also create fake athletic profiles to help get students admitted into athletic programs.