Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli have entered not guilty pleas for charges of mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy stemming from the couple’s alleged efforts in buying their two daughters’ way into USC.
But long before Operation Varsity Blues, fashion designer Giannulli had no qualms about fessing up to faking his way into the Los Angeles university.
As Page Six reports, Giannulli gave an interview in 2016 to the fashion blog The Hundreds in which he bragged about fooling his parents into thinking he was attending USC full-time by sending them fake report cards and tuition bills. The so-called tuition money was then used to fund his budding fashion business.
“That was how I was starting my company,” he told the blog. “I used all that cash.”
Giannulli was technically enrolled at the school for the spring semester of 1984 as part of its non-degree College of Continuing program. Participants did not have to meet “formal admissions requirements,” according to CNN, and were only given “visitor status” on campus.
Though he was not a fully matriculated student, the Target designer lived in a fraternity house and appeared in that year’s USC yearbook.
“Having non-matriculating students associate with the fraternity would not have been uncommon,” a Beta Theta Pi spokesman explained to CNN.
More than three decades later, he and his actress wife of 21 years are facing up to 40 years in prison each for their alleged involvement in the college admissions scheme. The couple stand accused of paying $500,000 to falsify their daughters’ credentials and get them into USC.
“He didn’t come from a lot, so it’s cool to see that he built it all himself,” she said during an appearance on the Zach Sang Show taped before her parents’ arrests. “He has a really crazy story, in college he, like, built his whole entire brand and he wasn’t actually, like, I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, sorry dad, ever enrolled in college.
"But he, like, faked his way through it and then he started his whole business with tuition money that his parents thought was going to college," the influencer added. "That’s, like, such a different time. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that, but it’s OK. It's a cool story.”
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