One day after four parents who were fighting charges in the U.S. college admissions scandal changed their pleas to guilty, federal prosecutors added new charges against 11 who are still battling the government, including the TV star Lori Loughlin and the former TPG leader William McGlashan.

The main additional charge, conspiracy to commit federal-programs bribery, was announced Tuesday. The parents, who also include a Massachusetts financier named John B. Wilson and Loughlin’s husband, the designer Mossimo Giannulli, are alleged to have paid off employees of the University of Southern California to get their children admitted as sports recruits, regardless of their athletic ability.

Federal-programs bribery is theft from a program, such as a university’s, that gets federal funds. Harvard University made an unusual cameo appearance in the case, with a sting operation to nab Wilson.

The additional charges increase pressure on the parents as the sprawling case -- in which prosecutors have also charged test administrators and college athletic coaches, and cited elite schools from Stanford to Yale as victims of an epic con -- moves toward the trial phase.

“Today’s charges are the result of ongoing investigation in the nationwide college admissions case,” Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, said in a statement. “Our goal from the beginning has been to hold the defendants fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud.”

Out of 35 parents charged with fraud conspiracy, 19 pleaded not guilty and were indicted on an additional charge of money-laundering conspiracy. It was from this group that four parents changed their pleas Monday.

Parents paid tens of thousands of dollars to rig their children’s entrance exam scores, prosecutors say. To lock in a seat at a selective school, some allegedly paid hundreds of thousands in bribes for athletic coaches to put their kids’ names on recruiting lists. None of the colleges or applicants in the case have been charged.

A number of parents argue their payments were donations, not the unlawful proceeds of a criminal activity that are the hallmark of money laundering. The new charge, of bribery, may be easier to prove, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who’s now a law professor at Wayne State University.

“The stakes are now higher,” Henning said. “If you make prosecutors go to trial, they’re going to seek a substantial prison term if you put them to the test.” He said the new charge facing the parents is also “a way to pump up the federal sentencing guidelines should they be convicted at trial,” and added that he could imagine sentences of four to five years.

Of 15 parents who pleaded guilty earlier this year, 10 have been sentenced, nine of them to prison terms ranging from two weeks for “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman to five months for vintner Agustin Huneeus.

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