Have mercy, Aunt Becky! Federal prosecutors on Tuesday, April 9, brought new conspiracy and money laundering charges against 16 parents involved in the alleged $25 million college admissions scandal, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her clothing designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. This is not the type of money laundering financial institutions generally detect in their BSA compliance programs or even hear about routinely in the news. Let’s look at why these cheating allegations turned into indictments of money laundering.
Loughlin and Giannulli were initially charged with fraud for allegedly paying $500,000 to college consultant William “Rick” Singer and his non-profit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF), which prosecutors said was a front for accepting bribes.
According to the indictment, Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly “[conspired] to launder the bribes and other payments in furtherance of the fraud by funneling them through Singer’s purported charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the United States, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states.
Wiretapped conversations and emails between Loughlin and Singer discussing IRS audits of KWF led to the grand jury money laundering indictment, according to People.com. “They’re always worried about things going on in foundations,” Singer said. “I see,” Loughlin replied, and then later said, “So we just have to say we made a donation to your foundation and that’s it, end of story.”