Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli To Plead Guilty In College Admissions Scandal

May 21, 2020
Originally published on May 22, 2020 9:13 am

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, have agreed to plead guilty in connection to the college admissions bribery scandal that federal investigators dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Massachusetts made the announcement Thursday, saying Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Her husband will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

According to the recommendations of the plea agreement, Loughlin is facing two months in prison and a $150,000 fine. Her husband is facing five months in prison and a $250,000 fine. Ultimately, a federal judge will determine their sentences.

Loughlin is best known for playing the role of Aunt Becky on the long-running sitcom Full House. Giannulli's Mossimo brand was a core clothing label at Target until 2017.

Both are scheduled to enter guilty pleas on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET, federal authorities said.

"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," Andrew Lelling, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said in a statement.

"We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions," he added.

It's worth noting that there's a provision in both Loughlin and Giannulli's plea agreements that stipulates they cannot withdraw their pleas "unless the Court rejects" the plea agreement.

The agreement states that each of their would-be prison sentences shall "begin no earlier than 90 days after imposition of final judgement."

Loughlin and Giannulli were among the remaining defendants accused in the bribery scandal that had maintained their innocence.

The couple originally pleaded not guilty in federal court in Boston in April 2019 after being was accused of paying a $500,000 bribe to secure their daughters' admission to the University of Southern California as recruits for the university's crew team.

Neither of them had even practiced the sport.

Federal prosecutors say the couple joins 22 other parents who pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal.

Laura Janke, a former USC soccer coach, pleaded guilty last May to a racketeering conspiracy charge in connection to the scandal.

She had previously denied taking part in the wide-ranging scheme, where she allegedly took bribes in exchange for writing bogus sports profiles for the children of wealthy parents hoping to benefit from the admissions scandal put into action by William "Rick" Singer.

Janke allegedly wrote the rowing profile for Olivia Jade Giannulli, who had been accepted to USC. The former coach later said she did something similar for Isabella Rose, the couple's other daughter.

Another well-known actress, Felicity Huffman, who starred in the hit series Desperate Housewives, was handed a 14-day prison sentence in September for paying thousands of dollars to have one of her children's SAT scores inflated.

Huffman was also ordered to serve 12 months of supervised release, a $30,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

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