Lori Loughlin released on $1 million bond on college admissions scam charges

(CBS News)
Published:

Actress Lori Loughlin, known as Aunt Becky on the TV sitcom "Full House," has been released on $1 million bond hours after she was taken into FBI custody Wednesday morning in Los Angeles as part of the investigation into a massive college admissions scam. She had appeared in federal court on conspiracy charges Wednesday afternoon. Loughlin will not have to surrender her passport.

Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid half a million dollars to have their two daughters categorized as recruits to the USC crew team even though neither participated in the sport, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports. Their 19-year-old daughter Olivia Jade is a social media influencer, who apparently capitalized on her experience at USC with sponsored posts.

Olivia Jade had to apologize last year after saying this on her YouTube channel: "I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying. I don't really care about school as you guys all know."

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Loughlin and actress Felicity Huffman are two of the dozens of wealthy parents accused in the alleged scheme that lasted nearly a decade. Prosecutors said some of them paid millions to get their children into elite schools like USC, Yale and Stanford.

Fifty people in total face criminal charges in the giant scam. More arrests could come in the weeks and months ahead.

Huffman, of "Desperate Housewives" fame, allegedly paid $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT score. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, was in court with her Tuesday as she was charged with conspiracy and posted a $250,000 bond.

William Singer pleaded guilty in Boston federal court Tuesday to running the scam, which federal prosecutors called the biggest of its kind. They said Singer became a cooperating witness turning in A-list clients.

According to court documents, Singer was the CEO of a college prep company in California. Parents spent as much as $6.5 million dollars to guarantee their children's college admission.

The company would not only help doctor SAT and ACT tests. It would also create the false impression the students were elite athletes, bribing coaches and creating fake athletic credentials complete with altered photos for kids.

Many colleges are taking action. Two athletics officials at USC that were allegedly involved were fired Tuesday.

Prosecutors said many of the students had no idea what their parents had allegedly done.