Heads are rolling in USC's athletic department over the college admissions scandal and university fundraising -- a key part of Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli's defense.
The university just fired 3 officials -- CFO Steve Lopes, senior associate athletic director Ron Orr and associate athletic director Scott Jacobson. USC hasn't said why they were canned, but we've confirmed all 3 were heavily involved in fundraising efforts for Trojan athletics.
TMZ broke the story ... Mossimo wrote a check for $50k, payable directly to USC. Sources connected to the case told us the check was sent to another athletics director, Donna Heinel, who USC already fired. We're told the check was sent at the direction of the scandal ringleader, Rick Singer.
Lori and Mossimo contend they were making a donation on the up and up -- and for that reason, one of their key witnesses could be former Athletic Director Pat Haden. He talked about his fundraising mission back in 2011, saying the Trojans needed to keep donor checks coming in to "feed the beast."
Our sources say USC has been handing over documents to prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case -- so it's possible some of those docs turned up new incriminating info about the newly fired officials. We haven't been able to confirm that.
You'll recall, Singer requested photos of Loughlin and Giannulli's daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, on rowing machines. Prosecutors believe the intent was to make it seem they were avid rowers, eligible for admission as USC Crew team members.
We're told USC had its antennae up as much 9 months before the indictments of Singer, Loughlin, Giannulli and Felicity Huffman. In fact, Heinel was fired the same day the feds announced the indictments in March 2019.
Sounds like USC is cleaning house. The school's new Athletic Director, Mike Bohn, was announced in November ... after Lynn Swann resigned from the position in September.