USC coach to plead guilty in Lori Loughlin case
The University of Southern California coach who created fake athletic profiles for the children of wealthy parents, including Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli, agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions scam on Tuesday.
Laura Janke, the 36-year-old former assistant women’s soccer coach at USC, will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, the US Attorney’s office said. She also agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation and testify at trial if needed.
Janke’s main role in the college admissions scam was to work with Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, to create fake athletic profiles that made the children of wealthy parents appear to be highly successful athletes, thereby facilitating their entrance into selective universities.
For example, the criminal complaint states that on July 14, 2017, Singer emailed Janke directing her to prepare a crew profile for the younger daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.
“Ok sounds good,” Janke responded, the complaint states. “Please send me the pertinent information and I will get started.”
Two days later, Singer emailed Giannulli to request an “action picture,” the complaint states. On July 28, Giannulli sent an email, copying Loughlin, with a photo of their younger daughter on an ergometer, the rowing machine.
The younger daughter, the social media influencer Olivia Jade, was then accepted to USC as a crew recruit even though she did not actually row competitively, the complaint states. Giannulli and Loughlin then paid $50,000 to USC’s senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and $200,000 to Singer’s fake charity, the complaint states.
Giannulli and Loughlin have both pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Heinel has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering.
In addition, prosecutors said Janke and Ali Khosroshahin, the head coach of USC women’s soccer, designated four students as recruits to the team to facilitate their entrance even though the students did not play competitive soccer. In exchange, Singer directed payments totaling about $350,000 to a private soccer club controlled by Janke and Khosroshahin, according to the indictment.
Khosroshahin has pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy charge.
Separately, the US Attorney’s office also announced Tuesday that Toby MacFarlane, a former senior executive at a title insurance company, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.
MacFarlane paid $450,000 in bribes to get his daughter into USC as a fake soccer recruit and his son in as a purported basketball recruit, according to court documents.
What the plea agreements say
As part of her plea agreement, Janke has been given a sentencing recommendation of incarceration at the low end of the federal guidelines, a fine within the sentencing guidelines, 12 months of supervised release, restitution of an amount to be determined by the court, and forfeiture of funds the court determines she derived from her offense.
MacFarlane has been given a sentencing recommendation of 15 months incarceration as part of his plea agreement. He also received a penalty of $95,000, 12 months supervised release, a $100 assessment payment, restitution of an amount to be determined by the court, and forfeiture of any claims to vehicles, currency, or personal property seized by the government or local law enforcement during the course of the investigation.
Both MacFarlane and Janke must also cooperate with the Examination and Collection division of the IRS by giving financial information and make a good faith effort to pay all delinquent taxes. Both must also cooperate with the government’s investigation and agree not to dispute the accuracy of facts alleged.
No further criminal charges will be brought against MacFarlane and Janke in connection to the college admissions scandal, according to their plea agreements. If either MacFarlane or Janke breach their plea agreements, they could be released from it.
CNN’s Sarah Jorgensen and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.