Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, could each face at least two years in prison if they accept an offered plea deal, a source confirms to Us Weekly.
The insider reveals that prosecutors have offered the Full House alum, 54, and the fashion designer, 55, a plea deal that includes a minimum two-year prison sentence for their alleged involvement in a nationwide college admissions scandal. It is not known if the pair will accept the bargain, but Christina Sterling, spokeswoman of the Massachusetts State Attorney’s Office, told Us on Tuesday, April 9, that they have “not agreed to plead guilty.”
When Loughlin and Giannulli appeared in federal court in Boston on Wednesday, April 3, the judge told them that they face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, three years’ probation and a $250,000 fine. All 13 defendants who appeared on Wednesday were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud.
A source previously told Us that the Summerland alum “is in denial and doesn’t believe she should have to spend any time in prison.” The insider noted that Loughlin will “go to trial before being separated from her family, and take those odds rather than just go to prison as part of a deal.”
The former When Calls the Heart star and the Mossimo clothing company founder — who share daughters Olivia Jade, 19, and Bella, 20 — were arrested in March after they allegedly “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.” They went to court and were each released on a $1 million bond.
While neither Loughlin nor Giannulli have entered a plea for their alleged participation in the scheme, actress Felicity Huffman announced in a statement on Monday, April 8, that she will be “pleading guilty to the charge brought against [her] by the United States Attorney’s Office.”
The Desperate Housewives alum, 56, continued in the statement: “I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions.”
Huffman, who was also arrested in March, allegedly “made a purported charitable contribution of $15,000 … to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,” Sofia, 18. The Golden Globe winner asserted that the teenager was not aware of the plot.
“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” Huffman added. “This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”
According to Lou Shapiro, a state and federal criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, the Cake actress may be sentenced to four to 10 months in prison for her alleged participation in the scandal.
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