The University of Southern California has fired two employees who were implicated in a massive college admissions bribery scandal this week.
Senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel and water polo coach Jovan Vavic were both fired on Tuesday.
Heinel allegedly accepted a $50,000 bribe from Full House star Lori Loughlin and her husband to get their two daughters into USC as crew recruits.
Vavic has been accused of accepting a $250,000 bribe to designate two students as recruits for his water polo team to help get them into the university.
Two athletic employees have been fired from the University of Southern California, including one who allegedly accepted a $50,000 bribe from Lori Loughlin to help her daughters (pictured together in 2018) to get into the school
USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic was fired on Tuesday after he was implicated in the major college admissions bribery scandal
The coach was taken into custody on Tuesday in Honolulu.
Fifty parents and coaches, including Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, have been charged in a plot to bribe their children’s way into some of America’s top schools.
The scheme was uncovered by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Boston, who discovered the affluent parents involved had paid a total of $6million in bribes to get their children into elite schools including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and UCLA.
Senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel, who allegedly accepted the bribe from Loughlin, was also fired on Tuesday
In many instances the children were unaware that their parents had paid these bribes, according to federal documents.
Most of those who were charged either paid to get their children higher SAT scores or faked an athletic resume that, with the participation of a bribed college coach, helped the children get accepted to a college as a team’s recruit.
Prosecutors said in court on Tuesday that some students also lied about their ethnicity on applications to take advantage of affirmative action.
William Rick Singer, the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal.
The documents claim that since 2011, Singer has received $25million from parents which was used to payoff or bribe individuals who could ‘designate their children as recruited athletes, or other favored admissions categories’.
In his biography on the website for the Newport Beach-based Key Foundation, Singer is heralded for his ability to get children into the college of their choice.
Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to get daughters Olivia Jade, 19,(pictured) and Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California
Singer is also praised for ‘helping students discover their life passion, and guiding them along with their families through the complex college admissions maze’.
Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly emailed Singer in 2016 about their daughters’ college prospects, stating that they wanted to do the necessary work to see that the girls got into USC as opposed to ASU.
Emails obtained by investigators revealed it was soon decided that bribes would be paid to have the girls recruited onto the crew team.
A short time after that, photos were taken of older daughter Isabella on a rowing machine.
Heinel then allegedly presented Isabella as a potential athletic recruit a month later and she was approved for conditional admission.
It was then asked that a check be sent to Heinel for $50,000 from Giannulli, who a short time later asked if he could mention the story to the athletic director at USC when the two men were at Augusta – likely playing at the famed golf club.
Singer stated that this was not a good idea because when he discussed the possibility of Isabella’s admission with him the year prior, he thought the family ‘would be good for a million plus.’
The couple emailed William Rick Singer Singer, the alleged mastermind behind the scandal, in 2016 about their daughters college prospects. They stated that they wanted to do the necessary work to see that their daughter got into USC as opposed to ASU
This same exact process was then repeated with their young daughter, Olivia, in 2017
At the same time, Loughlin complained that her daughter was having difficulty filling out her other college applications, prompting Singer to ask an employee to take care of that task
Then, at some point, there was a very heated and public altercation between Giannulli and the counselor, which elicited an email from Heinel
Isabella received her admission letter the following March, which was followed by another note requesting a donation of $200,000 to Key Worldwide Foundation.
After the amount was wired to the organization, a note was returned that stated no goods or services had been exchanged for the money – which according to the documents is false.
This same exact process was then repeated with younger daughter Olivia, it is claimed.
Problems arose however when Olivia’s guidance counselor became curious as to how she managed to receive admission based on her involvement in crew since she did not row.
At the same time, Loughlin complained that her daughter was having difficulty filling out her other college applications, prompting Singer to ask an employee to take care of the task.
Olivia Jade has cashed in on being student during her brief time at USC. She posted sponsored content for Amazon Prime on her Instagram account (above) in September that featured an image of her inside her USC dorm room
Loughlin and Giannulli (picutred in 2012) allegedly paid the half-million dollar sum to get their daughters into the school as fake rowing recruits. Neither daughter participated in crew
This was done so as not to draw attention to the fact that it was already confirmed Olivia had received conditional admission to USC.
Then, at some point, there was a very heated and public altercation between Giannulli and the counselor, which elicited an email from Heinel asking that this not happen again in the future so as to avoid detection.
Everything began to fall apart in October 2018 when the IRS audited Key Worldwide and began to look into donations made by parents whose children were then admitted to USC.
Ali Khosroshahin, the former women’s soccer coach at USC, and Laura Janke, the former assistant women’s soccer coach, are also charged in the case alongside Heinel and Vavic.
‘We are aware of the ongoing wide-ranging criminal investigation involving universities nationwide, including USC. USC has not been accused of any wrongdoing and will continue to cooperate fully with the government’s investigation,’ USC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The former Full House star is among 50 people, including fellow celebrity Felicity Huffman (pictured with her daughters and husband William H Macy), who have been accused of paying bribes to get their children into America’s top colleges
Singer (pictured at federal court on Tuesday), the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal
‘USC is in the process of identifying any funds received by the university in connection with this alleged scheme. Additionally, the university is reviewing its admissions processes broadly to ensure that such actions do not occur going forward.’
And USC was not the only school where employees were taking bribes.
An example of a student whose face was photoshopped onto another that was included in court documents
Gordie Ernst, the tennis coach at Georgetown who famously gave Michelle Obama and her daughter lessons, received $2.7million according to prosecutors, while Yale soccer coach Rudy Meredith pocketed $400,000 for allowing a recruit who had never once played the sport onto the team.
Stanford University has fired sailing coach John Vandemoer after he was charged with accepting $270,000 in contributions to the school’s sailing program for agreeing to recommend two prospective students for admission.
The school said on Tuesday that neither student came to Stanford but that ‘the alleged behavior runs completely counter to Stanford’s values.’
Vandemoer pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
He was released on his own recognizance pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for June 12.