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For Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli, and their entire family, past statements are coming back to haunt them.
Loughlin, an actress known for her role on “Full House,” and Giannulli, a fashion designer, have both been charged for their alleged involvement in a multi-level college bribery scheme that involved more than a dozen wealthy parents paying lofty sums of money to the owner of an independent college prep business, who would then allegedly use dishonest means to help the children of his clients gain admittance into highly-sought-after universities.
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of using their wealth to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team, even though neither student is an athlete. They’ve both entered not guilty pleas to money laundering conspiracy and mail fraud conspiracy charges. Now, Giannulli has become the subject of even more backlash, thanks to a 2016 interview that recently resurfaced, during which he admitted to lying to his parents about going to college and pocketing the tuition money to bankroll his fashion ambitions.
The 55-year-old designer, speaking to fashion blog The Hundreds, said that he convinced his father that he was a USC student by showing him fake report cards and tuition bills. He then used that money to help build his fledgling T-shirt business, he said.
“SC was expensive, so that was how I was starting my company. I used all that cash,” he said.
He lived in a fraternity house and did screen-printing jobs for campus groups, which proved lucrative for him, the article states.
“I used to have hundreds of thousands of cash in my top drawer in my fraternity house. And I was like, ‘This is kind of too easy. I need a bigger platform. If I had a bigger account base, I could really kill it…’” he said.
Giannulli’s daughter Olivia Jade also talked about her father’s past with higher education during an interview with the “Zach Sang Show” podcast earlier this year.
“He has a really crazy story in college,” Olivia Jade said of her father. “He like, built his whole entire brand, and he wasn’t actually, like, ever — I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, sorry, dad. But he was never, like, enrolled in college, he like, faked his way through it. Yeah, so, and then he started his whole business with tuition money that his parents thought was going to college.”
USC confirmed to CNN that Giannulli did attend USC, and that he was enrolled in the College of Continuing Education, a non-degree path that has “no formal admission requirements,” in the spring of 1984. The outlet also confirmed that Giannulli was a member of a fraternity at that time, pointing to a photo of the young designer, posing with other members of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, found in the USC yearbook issued that year.
Prosecutors say that Giannulli and Loughlin, who are among 50 people charged in relation to the scheme, paid $500,000 to get their daughters into USC. Their daughters have also experienced considerable backlash, particularly Olivia Jade, who, pre-scandal, had a burgeoning career as a social media influencer.
Following news of her parent’s alleged involvement in the scheme, Olivia Jade faced renewed criticism for comments she previously made about higher education, including one instance last year where she said that she “[doesn’t] really care about school” but was looking forward to “the experience of like, game days, partying.”
That particular video was deleted recently, but she addressed the initial wave of controversy months ago, telling her followers in another video that her comments about school were “super ignorant and stupid, basically.”
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