Saturday, October 31

Former TV star Lori Loughlin, husband to plead guilty in college admissions scandal

Lori Loughlin

Former “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, will plead guilty in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal for paying to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake rowing recruits.

Loughlin, 55, has agreed to a sentence of two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. Known as Aunt Becky in the popular TV sitcom, Loughlin had resisted a guilty plea and her sentence is steeper than those levied on parents who pled guilty early on in the admissions scandal, like “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman.

Huffman was only sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and one year of supervised release.

Giannulli, 56, agreed to five months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.

Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, DOJ said.

A statement from the department noted that the charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a sentence of up 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

Loughlin and Giannulli’s pleas are being entered in a case against a sweeping college admission cheating scheme involving multiple well-to-do parents led by ringleader William “Rick” Singer that involved bribing coaches and college administrators — with about $25 million in payments over seven years — and paying off college entrance exam administrators to allow students to cheat on their tests.

Loughlin and Giannulli will appear in a hearing via video conference on Friday before U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton. They are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the hugely publicized college admissions case.

The first trial for parents who have yet to plead guilty is expected for October and a second trial date could be scheduled for January 2021.

“Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.

“We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions.”