Lori Loughlin, Other Parents Lose Bid to Toss College Case

(Bloomberg) -- Actor Lori Loughlin, former TPG private equity executive Bill McGlashan and a dozen other parents must face trial in the U.S. college admissions scandal after a federal judge rejected their request to dismiss the case over “outrageous government misconduct.”

U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston said Friday there was no evidence that prosecutors and federal agents got the scheme’s mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, to lie to parents in order to fabricate evidence against them. Gorton also rejected a bid to suppress phone conversations with parents that Singer secretly recorded in cooperating with the government’s investigation of the racket.

The 14 parents, fighting charges of fraud and money laundering, made their bid for dismissal in February, soon after prosecutors disclosed that Singer had made notes on his phone in 2018 saying he felt pressured by investigators “to tell a fib” during the calls.

In his opinion on Friday, Gorton said he was “satisfied that the government has not lied or misled the court,” adding that affidavits from the agents “categorically deny that any member of the investigative team ever directed Singer to lie, attempt to entrap suspects or elicit false admissions of guilt.”

Singer admitted taking thousands of dollars from wealthy clients to fix their children’s college entrance exam scores and hundreds of thousands to get college athletic coaches to put the kids’ names on recruiting rosters at elite schools across the country.

More than 50 parents, test administrators, athletic coaches and others have been charged in the case, the biggest college admissions scam the U.S. has ever prosecuted. Of the 36 parents charged, 22 have pleaded guilty. None of the students or schools -- from the University of Southern California to Georgetown to Yale -- were charged.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, and McGlashan, among others, argued that Singer’s notes showed that their clients thought their payments were legitimate donations.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into USC as purported crew stars. Prosecutors say McGlashan paid $50,000 for a confederate of Singer to secretly correct his son’s ACT answers and schemed to pay $250,000 to get his son into USC as a football recruit, though he didn’t go through with that part of the alleged plot.

Lawyers for the three didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the ruling.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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