After maintaining their innocence for more than a year, Lori Laughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli agreed to plead guilty for the charges against them in the nation’s college admission scandal. A day after their agreement to the charges, on Friday, the couple will plead guilty to the count of conspiracy for committing wire fraud and mail fraud.
The couple will have to plea separately in front of their court and accept the charges against them. Loughlin and Giannulli were accused of paying $500,000 to the mastermind Rick Singer behind nationwide college admission scheme for the admission of their daughters Olivia Giannulli and Isabella Giannulli in University of Southern California.
Out of the 53 people that are charged guilty in this scandal, Laughlin and Giannulli will be the 33rd and 34th defendant who will plead guilty in the scandal that is termed “Varsity Blues.” This scandal also holds charges against the actress Felicity Huffman and other wealthy investors, attorneys and developers.
Loughlin, 55, gained her fame from the television series “Full House,” will have to serve two months in prison and pay a fine of $150,000. Apart from these charges, she would have to serve two years of a supervised release and also undertake 100 hours of community service, as a proposed deal in front of the federal judge. Whilst, the deal calls for Giannulli are that he would have to serve five months in prison, pay a fine of $250,000, and serve two years of supervised prison with 250 hours of community service.
The plea hearings are set before Nathaniel Gorton, the federal judge of the U.S. District of Massachusetts. Seeing the conditions of the pandemic, the hearings would be heard via video conference.
Allegedly, Loughlin and Giannulli sent fake crew recruiting profiles to Rick. These profiles included fake credentials, medals, and photos of one of their daughters while neither daughter is enrolled at USC. Under their pleas agreement, both would plead guilty for bribing and money laundering Rick Singer. Though Loughlin and Giannulli were among the group of parents who were supposed to go first on trials in October, now that they are guilty, only 12 parents remain fighting charges against them.
The charges against Loughlin and Giannulli are out since April and were described as “serious and disturbing,” by Gorton. From the parents that have already pleaded guilty, one has received prison time. Sentences to these parents range from as long as nine months to as short as two weeks. The longest judgment has come against Douglas Hodge, the former CEO of Pimco. He was sentenced for nine months in prison for paying $850,000. Mr. Hodge paid this amount to get four of his children as fake athletic recruits at USC or Georgetown University.
Huffman, the star in “Desperate Housewives,” was sentenced for two weeks in prison. She had paid $15,000 to Singer for making one of her associates sit at her daughter’s seat in the SAT examination. Though, she was released 11 days after her first day in prison from a federal prison in California.
The attempt to ask for home detention by attorneys of one defendant named Elizabeth Henriquez, seeing the pre-existing health condition and the risk of Covid-19 in prison, was dismissed by Gorton. Henriquez was sentenced for seven months with the statement that if the pandemic doesn’t improve even after June 30, the plea would be reconsidered.
These judgments, especially in the case of Loughlin and Giannulli came after Singer’s co-operation with FBI agents and doing what he was directed to do. The couple’s attorneys claim falls short that Singer the couple was trying to give funds for donations and not for the recruitment of their daughters when Singer wrote that he was actually told by FBI to get paid for entering their children into college.