Lori Loughlin Sentenced To 2 Months, Giannulli 5 Months In College Bribery Scheme

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“Full House” star Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison Friday for her part in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme after a federal judge accepted her plea agreement.

Her sentencing follows hours after her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was sentenced to five months behind bars in the scheme, following the agreement with prosecutors.

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli will be sentenced to five months in prison after a federal judge accepted his plea deal with prosecutors on charges that he paid half a million dollars in bribes to get his two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits.

His wife, “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, is expected to be sentenced later Friday after pleading guilty under a deal with prosecutors that calls for her to serve two months in prison.

Unlike most plea agreements, in which the judge remains free to decide the defendant’s sentence, Loughlin’s and Giannulli’s proposed prison terms were binding should the judge accept the deals.

In accepting Giannulli’s plea deal, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the prison sentence stipulated “is sufficient but not greater than necessary punishment under the circumstances.”

Gorton says he accepts the plea agreement, which will send Giannulli to prison for 5 months.

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli will be sentenced to five months in prison after a federal judge accepted his plea deal with prosecutors on charges that he paid half a million dollars in bribes to get his two daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing recruits.

His wife, “Full House” star Lori Loughlin, is expected to be sentenced later Friday after pleading guilty under a deal with prosecutors that calls for her to serve two months in prison.

Unlike most plea agreements, in which the judge remains free to decide the defendant’s sentence, Loughlin’s and Giannulli’s proposed prison terms were binding should the judge accept the deals.

In accepting Giannulli’s plea deal, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said the prison sentence stipulated “is sufficient but not greater than necessary punishment under the circumstances.”

Gorton says he accepts the plea agreement, which will send Giannulli to prison for 5 months.

— Caroline Connolly (@CConnNBCBoston) August 21, 2020
Under the plea deal, Giannulli will pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. Loughlin’s calls for her to pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

The famous couple’s sentencing comes three months after they reversed course and admitted to participating in the college admissions cheating scheme that has laid bare the lengths to which some wealthy parents will go to get their kids into elite universities.

The pair pleaded guilty in May after they were charged with paying half a million dollars in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California.

Loughlin’s plea deal with prosecutors calls for her to spend two months behind bars, while Giannulli’s calls for him to serve five months. They will be sentenced in separate hearings held via video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The judge said at their plea hearings that he would decide whether to accept their unusual deals with prosecutors after reviewing the presentencing report, a document that contains background on defendants and helps guide sentencing decisions. Unlike most plea agreements, in which the judge remains free to decide the defendant’s sentence, Loughlin and Giannulli’s proposed prison terms are binding if the judge accepts the deals.

They are among nearly 30 prominent parents who have admitted to charges in the scheme, which involved hefty bribes to get undeserving kids into college with rigged test scores or fake athletic credentials, authorities said. Ten parents are still fighting the charges.

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Loughlin to Plead Guilty, Serve Two Months in Prison for Role in College Admittance Scheme
Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli will both plead guilty in their role in a widespread college admissions scandal, according to prosecutors.
Lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli had insisted for more than a year that the couple believed their payments were “legitimate donations.” They also accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple’s innocence because it would undermine their case.

Loughlin and Giannulli’s about-face came shortly after the judge rejected their bid to dismiss the case over allegations of misconduct by federal agents.

The case shattered the clean image of Loughlin, who gained fame for her role as the wholesome Aunt Becky in the sitcom “Full House” that ran from the late 1980s to mid-1990s, and later became queen of the Hallmark channel with her holiday movies and the series “When Calls the Heart.”

The couple has not made any public statements since their arrest and — unlike every other parent sentenced to far in the case — they did not submit letters expressing regret or notes of support from family and friends to the judge ahead of their sentencing.

Loughlin pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of money laundering and federal programs bribery that were added after the case was filed.

The actress received her sentence Friday for her role in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme.
Under the plea deal, Giannulli would also pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. Loughlin would pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

“I think it’s a very good deal and if they had been offered this deal at the outset, we might not have spent many many months getting to this point,” NBC10 Boston Legal Analyst Michael Coyne said.

Prosecutors told the judge this week that Giannulli deserves a tougher sentence because he was “the more active participant in the scheme,” while Loughlin “took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit.”

The couple funneled money through a sham charity operated by college admissions consultant Rick Singer to get their two daughters into USC as crew recruits, even though neither girl was a rower, authorities said.

Investigators had recorded phone calls and emails showing the couple worked with Singer to secure their daughters’ admission with fake athletic profiles depicting them as star rowers. In one email, Singer told Loughlin and Giannulli he needed a picture of their older daughter on a rowing machine in workout clothes “like a real athlete.”

Prosecutors said the couple allowed the girls “to become complicit in the crime,” instructing them to pose on rowing machines for photos and warning their younger daughter not to say too much to her high school counselor to avoid getting caught.

When the counselor began questioning their crew credentials, Giannulli angrily confronted him and asked why he was “trying to ruin or get in the way of their opportunities,” the counselor wrote in notes detailed in court documents.

After the couple successfully bribed their younger daughter’s way into USC, Singer forwarded them a letter saying she was let in because of her “potential to make a significant contribution to the intercollegiate athletic program,” prosecutors wrote.

Loughlin responded: “This is wonderful news! (high-five emoji),” according to court filings.

Singer, who has also pleaded guilty, was expected to testify against them had the couple gone to trial.

Giannulli, a fashion designer, and Loughlin are among the more high-profile figures to be charged in the case. “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman served 11 days in prison in the fall of 2019 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

This is a breaking news update.

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