Did Lori Loughlin's daughter know about college admissions fraud? Olivia Jade discussed it with her parents
Olivia Jade posed in staged photographs for use in a fake athletic profile to get admitted to the University of Southern California and was instructed by her parents to conceal the fraud from her high school counselor
'Varsity Blues' may have been well known as a 90s film but the title has been repurposed for Operation Varsity Blues, the federal government's investigation into the college admissions scam that was made public in 2019. Since the cheating scandal was first revealed, at least 53 people were charged as being part of the conspiracy, and is one of the largest cases to be prosecuted by the justice department. The mastermind behind the conspiracy, Rick Singer pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Others were sentenced and completed their prison terms, including actress Lori Loughlin, who used Singer's scheme to secure admissions for her daughters, Isabella Rose and Olivia Jade to University of Southern California (USC).
Netflix's latest documentary, 'Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal' brings to viewers a thorough look at how the FBI went with their investigations and includes reenactments of phone calls made by Singer to his clients. Among the many revelations, one that stands out is that Loughlin's daughter, Olivia Jade, knew and discussed the scam with her parents.
Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on 'Full House' pled guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and was fined and sentenced to two months in prison. Her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who also pled guilty, was sentenced to five months.
When the scandal was made public, Olivia Jade, who was at the time a student of the USC, became the focus of public scrutiny, after many pointed out statements made by her on her YouTube videos where she often lamented about going to school, even saying in one video that she did not "really care about school."
In the aftermath, many wondered if Olivia Jade was unaware of the scheme. Most of the other students who were admitted through the admissions scam didn't know about it because their parents had decided to keep this information from them, as seen in the documentary. However, as the trial was going on, Us Weekly reported that prosecutors claimed that Olivia Jade knew about the scheme and was even instructed by her parents to play an active role in it.
Assistant US Attorney Justin O'Connell wrote in a memo to the judge before Loughlin's sentencing, "Over the course of two years, they engaged twice in Singer’s fraudulent scheme. They involved both their daughters in the fraud, directing them to pose in staged photographs for use in fake athletic profiles and instructing one daughter how to conceal the scheme from her high school counselor.”
In the Netflix documentary, clips of Olivia Jade complaining about going to university, saying statements like, "I wanna die," and "I just wanna go home," are followed by the YouTuber returning home and making a video where she says she has never been so happy to be anywhere in her whole life, saying, "I still hate it, but I'm grateful that I get to be educated."
According to the prosecutors, Olivia Jade, her parents discussed how to avoid the possibility of the counselor disrupting their admissions scheme. When Olivia Jade asked whether she should list USC as her top choice school when meeting with her counselor, Loughlin said yes, but cautioned that it might be a flag "for the weasel to meddle."
Her father, Mossimo Giannulli, called the counselor a "nosey bastard," and told Olivia Jade not to say much to him. The documentary reveals that the high school counselor at Olivia Jade's school did become suspicious of her college admission details, especially after he found out that she was admitted on the basis of being an athlete.
When the counselor spoke to a USC admissions official and Giannulli came to know about it, the latter visited him at the school to confront him. Giannulli "aggressively asked" the counselor what he was telling USC about his daughters and why he was "trying to ruin or get in the way of their opportunities." The counselor said that Giannulli's tone made him "visibly nervous." News of Giannulli's visit to the counselor reached Donna Heinel, a USC senior associate athletic director who worked with Singer, who then cautioned Singer about the situation.
'Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal' is now streaming on Netflix.