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An assistant coach at the University of Southern California who allegedly helped Lori Loughlin’s daughter, along with the children of other wealthy parents, gain admittance to top schools by creating fake athletic profiles is expected to plead guilty.
Prosecutors expect Laura Janke, 36, to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said in a press release issued Tuesday. Janke was formerly an assistant coach in women’s soccer at USC, during which time she worked with William “Rick” Singer, the owner of a college prep business and who created a complex scheme that involved using “bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of students to selective colleges and universities and to cheat on college entrance exams,” prosecutors said.
Officials believe that Janke created “falsified” athletic profiles for the children of Singer’s wealthy clients, enabling them to be admitted to USC as student athletes, according to the release.
Singer is alleged to have contacted Janke on July 14, 2017, at which time he instructed her to create an athletic profile for Olivia Jade Giannulli, the youngest daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, CNN reports, citing a criminal complaint.
“Ok sounds good. Please send me the pertinent information and I will get started,” Janke is alleged to have responded, according to the documents.
Singer later requested that Giannulli send an “action picture” of Olivia Jade for use in the profile touting her as a rower, the complaint states. Giannulli did as instructed and Olivia Jade was ultimately admitted to the school as a recruit for the rowing team, according to court documents. Prosecutors say that Giannulli and Loughlin then paid Donna Heinel, USC’s senior associate athletic director, $50,000, and gave another $200,000 to Singer via a donation to his so-called charity.
Janke has also been accused of creating similarly false athletic profiles for the children of Singer’s other clients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. She is currently cooperating with the investigation but, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, in addition to paying restitution and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Prosecutors claim that Loughlin and Giannulli paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to USC as members of the rowing team, an accusation that has had disastrous consequences for Olivia Jade in particular, whose career as a social media influencer has suffered since the allegations became public. Both Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge and mail fraud conspiracy charge.
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