Wed. May 22nd, 2019

Olivia Jade Giannulli and sister in spotlight amid college bribery probe

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(L-R) Olivia Jade Giannulli, Lori Loughlin and Isabella Rose Giannulli in West Hollywood last year
Sisters Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli kiss their mother in West Hollywood last year

The daughters of Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin have been thrust into the spotlight as their mother stands accused of paying a hefty bribe to get them into a top university.

Ms Loughlin, the star of US sitcom Full House, and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among dozens charged on Tuesday in a college admissions and cheating scandal.

Court documents say the couple “agreed to pay bribes totalling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC [University of Southern California] crew team”.

Authorities say neither of the daughters, beauty vlogger Olivia Jade Giannulli and her sister Isabella Rose Giannulli, were actually part of any rowing team.

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman has also been indicted in the investigation.

Prosecutors said they have not charged any of the students, though it is unclear what will happen to their college places.

Lori Loughlin (middle) with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli (R) and Isabella Rose Giannulli

The charging document alleges that Ms Loughlin and Mr Giannulli lied, saying that their youngest daughter was a coxswain for the LA Marina Club team and provided a photo of her at a rowing machine to back up her college application.

But a guidance counsellor from the sisters’ high school noted that neither of the girls participated in rowing and questioned whether “their applications may have contained misleading information”.

After the counsellor expressed concern, Ms Loughlin wrote to a participant in the alleged scam: “[Our younger daughter] has not submitted all her colleges apps and is confused on how to do so.

“I want to make sure she gets those in as I don’t want to call any attention to [her] with our little friend at [her high school]. Can you tell us how to proceed?”

Ms Loughlin’s youngest daughter, Olivia Jade Giannulli, is no stranger to controversy.

The 19-year-old YouTuber faced a backlash last year when she expressed more interest in partying than in studying at USC.

Before starting college last year, Ms Giannulli – who launched her YouTube fashion channel in 2014 – was skewered for remarks she made while discussing her plans after graduating from a private high school in California.

“I don’t know how much of [university] I’m gonna attend,” the teenager – who goes by the name Olivia Jade online – told her viewers in a video.

“But I’m gonna go in and talk to my deans and everyone, and hope that I can try and balance it all.

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