On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts added money laundering charges to the indictment against actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli for their role in the college admissions scam, dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" by the FBI. With the updated charges, the couple could face up to 20 years in prison.
Now speculation has begun about the potential legal exposure facing the children involved in the scam, including Loughlin and Gianulli's influencer daughter, Olivia Jade.
Some of the parents involved have been adamant that their children were not aware of any criminal activity. While giving an emotional statement after accepting a plea deal for paying $15,000 to boost her daughter's SAT scores, Felicity Huffman told the court, "My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her."
But some reports have indicated that Olivia Jade was aware of her parent's plan to pay as much as $500,000 in bribes to gain admission to USC for her and her sister, Isabella. A source told People that the influencer would have “never gone along with it if she thought this would happen” and “blames her parents for everything.”
And things might be getting worse.
Refinery29 spoke with William Moran, an attorney who specialises in crisis management at the Otterbourg firm. He explained that the additional charges brought against Olivia Jade's parents on Tuesday are part of a familiar pattern for prosecutors. Loughlin and Giannulli were given an opportunity to plead guilty, as Huffman and 13 other defendants did, but chose not to. Prosecutors will now begin to seek further evidence for a trial – and this is where Olivia Jade could find herself in trouble.
"The more time that passes, however, the more likely it is that the prosecutor will bring pressure by seeking to interview the children as part of the evidence," says Moran. "If Olivia Jade knew and participated, she could face criminal liability. As long as charges against the parents are pending, the children are still vulnerable."
"Right now, she's not doing a very good job of protecting herself," says Moran.