Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty Friday to new charges filed against them in a college admissions case, according to court documents.
Loughlin and Giannulli are among the most prominent of the dozens of parents accused in the national admissions scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues, reports The Washington Post.
The U.S. attorney for Massachusetts described a scheme in which wealthy parents paid a college admissions consultant, William "Rick" Singer, to secure fraudulent SAT and ACT scores for their children and, in some cases, to falsely portray the children as athletic recruits to help them gain admission to top universities. Singer has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in the case.
Loughlin, best known for her role on the 1990s sitcom "Full House," and Giannulli were accused by prosecutors of paying a total of $500,000 to Singer to help their daughters gain admission to the University of Southern California as recruited athletes for the crew team.
Their daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli, are no longer enrolled at USC, according to university officials.
Loughlin and Giannulli are facing conspiracy charges including mail fraud, money laundering and federal programs bribery.
The couple had already pleaded not guilty to two conspiracy counts when prosecutors brought additional charges last month. On Friday, they asked the judge to accept their pleas of not guilty to the new charges.
Attorneys for Loughlin and Giannulli did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Another actress ensnared in Varsity Blues, Felicity Huffman, was released Oct. 25 from a federal prison in northern California after spending 11 days there as part of her sentence for participating in the test-cheating scam.
Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy uncovered in the Varsity Blues investigation, admitting she had paid $15,000 in a scheme to inflate the SAT score of her older daughter. Huffman, an award-winning actress who starred in the hit television series Desperate Housewives, was the first parent to be sentenced.
She had been sentenced to 14 days. With credit for time served on the day of her arrest in March, Huffman's term at the low-security prison for women was scheduled to end on a Sunday.
Under what a public information officer for the Bureau of Prisons had described as "ordinary procedure," Huffman was released before the weekend, resulting in the 11-day term.
This week, a California businessman became the 12th parent to be sentenced in connection with the admissions scandal.
Jeffrey Bizzack, 59, of San Diego County, was sentenced Wednesday to two months in prison for paying $250,000 in a scam to get his son admitted to USC as a volleyball recruit. His son does not play the sport competitively.
A federal judge also imposed three years of supervised release and ordered Bizzack to perform 300 hours of community service per year in that time. The sentence included a $250,000 fine.