Breaking Down the Accusations Against Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin in College Admissions Bribery Scam


Fans were stunned on Tuesday when Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among 40 people charged in a massive college admissions cheating scam.

Huffman was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud for allegedly paying money to help get her eldest daughter with husband William H. Macy -- 18-year-old Sofia -- into an elite college. A spokeswoman for the FBI confirmed to ET that Huffman was arrested on Tuesday morning without incident at her Los Angeles area home. 

Meanwhile, there is an arrest warrant out for Loughlin, who was out of town and not at her house when authorities showed up. 

ET obtained the lengthy indictment on Tuesday, which details the allegations against the dozens of people who are accused of paying thousands of dollars to get their into elite schools across the country, including the University of Southern California, Georgetown, Yale and Stanford.

Read on for more on the specific accusations against Huffman and Loughlin, as well as Loughlin's husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. Macy has not been charged.

Felicity Huffman:

According to the federal court papers obtained by ET, Huffman and Macy made a $15,000 charity contribution to Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) -- which the FBI alleges is a fake non-profit set up by the scam's ringleader to launder money from the parents -- to participate in a college entrance exam cheating scam on behalf of Sofia.

The court papers allege that a cooperating witness who participated in the scam told law enforcement agents that prior to Sofia taking the December 2017 SAT, the witness met with Huffman and Macy at their home in Los Angeles and explained how the college entrance exam scam worked. The witness alleges he advised the two that he "controlled" a testing center, and could arrange for a third party to proctor their daughter's SAT and secretly correct her answers afterward. The witness alleges the couple agreed to the plan. 

According to the court papers, during the summer of 2017, Huffman and the witness exchanged multiple emails about how to obtain extra time on the SAT for both Sofia and her younger daughter, 16-year-old Georgia. When Sofia's extra time was approved, Sofia's high school counselor told Huffman that she would proctor the test on Dec. 4 and 5. Huffman then allegedly forwarded the email to the witness and wrote, "Ruh Ro! Looks like [my daughter's high school] wants to provide own proctor," to which the witness replied, "We will speak about it." The two then allegedly agreed to tell the school Sofia would take the test at a different location on Dec. 2 and 3 -- a Saturday and Sunday -- so she would not miss any school. 

After Sofia's test location was changed to the West Hollywood Test Center, a second witness now cooperating with law enforcement alleges that he flew from Tampa, Florida, to L.A. to proctor the test, and facilitated cheating either by correcting the student's answers or by actively assisting the student during the exam. 

Court papers state that Huffman's daughter ended up receiving a 1420 on the SAT, an improvement of approximately 400 points over her PSAT, which was taken without the alleged cheating.

After Huffman and Macy allegedly gave a $15,000 donation to KWF on Feb. 27, 2018, court papers state that the couple received a letter falsely stating that "no goods or services were exchanged for the $15,000."

In a recorded telephone conversation on Oct. 23, 2018, Huffman allegedly discussed repeating the SAT scheme for her daughter Georgia. In another call on Nov. 12, 2018, Huffman allegedly said she wanted to proceed with the cheating scheme -- again for a cost of $15,000 -- but only after Georgia first took the test on her own. However, Huffman ultimately backed out after expressing concern that a dramatic increase in Georgia's score would cause her SAT tutor to suspect cheating.

Lori Loughlin:

Law enforcement officials are accusing Loughlin and Giannulli of agreeing to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters -- 20-year-old Isabella and 19-year-old Olivia -- designated as recruits to the USC crew team, despite not actually participating in crew.

In an email to a witness now cooperating with the FBI, Giannulli allegedly wrote, "We just met with [our older daughter's] college counselor this am. I'd like to maybe sit with you after your session with the girls as I have some concerns and want to fully understand the game plan and make sure we have a roadmap for success as it relates to [our daughter] and getting her into a school other than ASU!"

After Giannulli was advised that Isabella's academic qualifications were at the "low end" of USC's admissions standards, Giannulli allegedly agreed to use bribes to facilitate her admission as a recruited crew coxswain though she did not row competitively or participate in crew. On Sept. 7, 2016, Giannulli allegedly sent an email to the witness with a photo attached of Isabella on an ergometer. 

Isabella was then presented to the USC subcommittee by Donna Heinel, Senior Women Associate Athletic Director of USC Athletics, for athletic admissions as a purported crew recruit on Oct. 27, 2016. At the meeting, the subcommittee approved Isabella's conditional admission to the university. 

Giannulli allegedly paid Heinel $50,000. After Isabella got her formal USC acceptance letter, Giannulli then allegedly paid KWF $200,000.

In an April 10, 2017 email, Giannulli allegedly sent an email copying Loughlin which read, "Trojan happiness" in the email subject line.

"I wanted to thank you again for your great work with [our older daughter], she is very excited and both Lori and I are very appreciative of your efforts and end result!" the email allegedly reads.

According to the court papers, Giannulli and Loughlin repeated he same exact scheme for their younger daughter, Olivia -- presenting her falsely as a crew coxswain for the L.A Marina Club team and sending an "action picture" of her on an ergometer. Olivia was also conditionally admitted to USC, and the couple again allegedly paid $50,000 to Heinel, and made another $200,000 donation to KWF. 

Loughlin later allegedly emailed the witness again when a guidance counselor got suspicious of Olivia's athletic recruitment to USC, and was concerned that her application contained misleading information. Loughlin allegedly requested guidance on how to complete the formal USC application, in the wake of her daughter's provisional acceptance as a recruited athlete.

"[Our youngest daughter] has not submitted all her college apps and confused on how to do so," Loughlin's email allegedly reads. "I want to make sure she gets those in as I don't want to call any attention to [her] and our little friend at [her high school]. Can you tell us how to proceed?"  

Applications were then allegedly submitted on behalf of Olivia by an employee of the witness.

Court papers state that after the Giannullis made their two $200,000 payments to KWF, the organization falsely indicated that "no goods or services were exchanged" for the purported donations.

ET spoke to Loughlin in 2016, when she talked about the importance of sending her two daughters to college.

"I want them to be happy," Loughlin said. "I want to be supportive of everything they want to do, but I do want them to have somewhat of a normal [life]. Finish out high school, college experience, maybe because I didn't have that, I really want that for them."

"And I also say to them, try to have something else right now, because there's so much crossover in the business," she added. "So try to do something else where you have a little more control over your own destiny. For me, when I started my career, it was always, 'Here's your audition, go in, do the best job you can.' And nine times out of 10 you didn't get the job."

Watch the video below for more:


Lori Loughlin Deletes Social Media After Being Indicted in College Admissions Bribery Scam

Lori Loughlin's Daughter Olivia Said She Didn't 'Really Care About School' Before Heading to College

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin Among Over 40 Indicted in College Admissions Bribery Scam