Lori Loughlin is accused of having paid $500,000 to have her daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew

By Rachel DeSantis
March 12, 2019 03:55 PM

Life might be imitating art for former Full House star Lori Loughlin.

The actress, 54, made headlines Tuesday when she was listed among 50 people indicted in an alleged college admissions cheating scam, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to the school, according to the indictment.

If the news is ringing a bell, you might be thinking of the season 6 Full House episode, “Be True to Your Preschool.”

Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit, Lori Loughlin, John Stamos, Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit
| Credit: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty

The episode first aired in 1993 but has found itself relevant once again in light of Tuesday’s scandal, as it focuses on Loughlin’s character Aunt Becky’s desperate attempts to get her toddler twins into a prestigious preschool.

In the episode, Becky and her husband Jesse (John Stamos) feel compelled to put their twins Nicky and Alex “on the fast track” for life by getting them accepted into Bouton Hall, a highly competitive preschool.

But when the application calls for skills and knowledge that are way out of the twins’ range, Jesse lies on the application, claiming he’s a diplomat and that Nicky and Alex speak multiple languages and play the bassoon.

“The most important thing in the world right now is their education,” Jesse says. “I’m their father — if I don’t lie for them, who will?”

Becky learns the truth when the family visits the school for an interview and ultimately confesses that the application was embellished. The episode ends with Becky and Jesse realizing that pushing their children in a certain direction isn’t necessarily going to improve their lives.

“I know you want what’s best for them, but you know what, maybe the fast track isn’t it,” Becky says. “I mean, Nicky and Alex are normal and healthy kids, and whatever track they’re on, they seem to be doing okay.”

Federal agents obtained emails from Loughlin allegedly implicating her in the scam, according to the documents released Tuesday. She and Giannulli are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

The Women's Cancer Research Fund's An Unforgettable Evening Benefit Gala - Arrivals
Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Their daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, is a freshman at USC who goes by Olivia Jade on her popular YouTube channel.

She faced backlash last year after posting a video in which she said she was only interested in attending college for the parties.

“I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend but I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all,” she said in August. “But I do want the experience of like game days, partying…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”

She later apologized, saying she was “disappointed” in herself.

“I said something super ignorant and stupid, basically. And it totally came across that I’m ungrateful for college — I’m going to a really nice school. And it just kind of made it seem like I don’t care, I just want to brush it off. I’m just gonna be successful at YouTube and not have to worry about school,” she said in the video. “I’m really disappointed in myself.”

Actress Felicity Huffman was also named in the indictment and allegedly gave $15,000 to help one of her daughters excel on an entrance exam, the indictment states.

Reps for Huffman and Loughlin did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.