State and federal criminal defense attorney Lou Shapiro tells Us Weekly that Loughlin, 54, “is looking at a possible 21-year prison sentence” after being charged with wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy on top of the previous charges against them.
“If Lori decides to plead to the wire fraud, her possible sentence would go down significantly to the two-year range because of her lack of a criminal record,” Shapiro explained. “She could plead to just the wire fraud count for a stipulated guideline range of two years. That would put her attorneys in striking distance of probation. This is because it would still constitute taking early responsibility and she has no previous criminal history.”
The 90210 alum and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, appeared in federal court on April 3, one month after they were arrested for allegedly paying $500,000 to secure daughters Olivia, 19, and Bella, 20, admission into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, although neither girl has experience playing the sport. At their hearing, a judge informed the couple that, if found guilty, they are facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, three years’ probation and a $250,000 fine.
Despite the severity of their situation, Loughlin and Giannulli, 55, rejected a plea deal on Tuesday, April 9, that would include a minimum two-year prison sentence. Hours later, they were indicted on the money laundering charges.
“Lori is in denial and doesn’t believe she should have to spend any time in prison,” a source previously told Us, noting that the When Calls the Heart actress would rather “go to trial before being separated from her family and [will] take those odds rather than just go to prison as part of a deal.”
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