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2019 College Admission Scandal Update

The Consequences of Fraud in Higher Education

Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, and university officials, to name a few, were involved in an elaborate fraudulent scheme to get their children admitted into top US universities, including the University of Southern California (USC).

Among the 50 plus people who were involved in the notorious college admissions scandal, Lori Laughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli gained significant media attention. The couple reportedly agreed to pay a $500,000 bribe to get their daughters admitted into the prestigious and private USC. Logistically, to commit these fraudulent acts, the couple’s daughters would be admitted as rowing recruits even though they never played the sport.

As a result, they were initially charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud, and later charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

In April 2019, the couple pleaded not guilty to the federal fraud charges that were pressed against them, placing them on the front pages of the news for months. In May 2019, the couple pleaded guilty to their charges and worked out a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Loughlin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Mossimo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

Now, over one year later, they are facing the repercussions of their illegal actions. Loughlin is sentenced to two months in federal prison, and Mossimo will face five months.

This scandal serves as a reminder that fraud is a serious federal crime, no matter how famous or wealthy you are. The law can be unforgiving in its efforts to prosecute those who violate it, and Lori Laughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are primary examples.

If you are facing federal charges in Santa Barbara, give us a call at (805) 467-6060 so our team can get started on fighting your accusations. As former prosecutors, we know exactly how the other side of the law operates and can work to deflect their attempts to put you in jail.