Lori Loughlin Allegedly Discussed How to Explain Bribe to IRS: 'So We Just Have to Say We Made a Donation'
Loughlin was arrested last week on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in admissions scam
In their efforts to get daughter Olivia Jade into the University of Southern California as a student-athlete, Lori Loughlin and husband J. Mossimo Giannulli allegedly gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rick Singer and his company, The Key Worldwide Foundation.
According to the 204-page affidavit in support of a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Boston last week, authorities allege that the family worked with Singer, who has pleaded guilty to multiple charges and admitted to devising the college admission cheating scandal in which Loughlin and dozens of others are allegedly implicated.
According to the affidavit, Singer had recorded conversations with Loughlin and Giannulli, telling them that he was under IRS scrutiny.
“I just want to give you a heads-up that my foundation is being audited,” Singer — identified as a cooperating witness in the affidavit — allegedly said to Giannulli in one conversation. “They asked me about your 2 payments of $200,000. And, of course, I’m not gonna say anything about your payments going to [crew coach] Donna Heinel at USC to get the girls into USC, through crew.”
“Sure,” Giannulli allegedly responded.
“So I just want to make sure our stories are the same, and that your $400K was paid to our foundation to help underserved kids.”
In a subsequent call with Loughlin, Singer allegedly repeated the information about the IRS. Loughlin allegedly agreed that they would tell the IRS that the money they paid was a charitable donation, and not used to secure Olivia Jade’s spot at USC.
“So we just have to say we made a donation to your foundation and that’s it, end of story,” Loughlin allegedly said.
According to federal prosecutors, this conversation was part of an elaborate admissions cheating plan: Giannulli and Loughlin would allegedly pay exorbitant bribes to designate their daughters as recruits on the crew team — even though they don’t even row.
The affidavit alleges Loughlin and Giannulli had their daughters pose as coxswains for a local crew team and on rowing machines. The couple allegedly paid a total of $500,000.
According to the affidavit, Singer devised a plan to “present their younger daughter [Olivia Jade], falsely, as a crew coxswain for the L.A. Marina Club team, and requested that the Giannullis’s send an ‘Action Picture,’ asking a few days later for a picture on the ‘erg’ — or rowing machine, which Giannulli did a few days later.”
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Federal court records in Boston name 50 people who have been indicted as part of the nationwide scheme, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Both Loughlin and Giannulli were arrested last week on a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Another notable name implicated in the alleged scam is Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman.
Loughlin, Giannulli and Huffman have not entered pleas. Huffman’s rep and Loughlin’s attorney have not returned PEOPLE’s requests for comment.