When you read that a defendant might serve a specified amount in prison if convicted then it’s usually what they would serve if they got the maximum sentence, which likely never happens unless they are a habitual defender of the same crime.
When “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin was first indicted on mail fraud charges, she infamously balked and decided to roll the dice. That’s when federal prosecutors added a money laundering charge. And then just recently, to add insult to injury, prosecutors charged both her and husband Mossimo Giannulli with federal program bribery too.
And a legal expert just weighed in on how much time Lori Loughlin will actually serve if convicted.
The allegation: Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli allegedly donated $500,000 to the University of Southern California’s Crew even though neither one of their daughters are actually on the team.
In a massive nationwide FBI sting, Loughlin and Giannulli were amongst approximately fifty people who were charged in education scandals.
The FBI charged them both with mail fraud and a source close to the family claimed that Loughlin was “in complete denial” about being charged with a crime. Loughlin’s adamant belief of her innocence caused her to reject the initial plea deal.
A source told E!, “She has been in complete denial and thought maybe she could skate by. She refused to accept any jail time and thought the DA was bluffing. She was adamant she wouldn’t do any jail time.”
Federal prosecutors sent them both a serious message by adding money laundering and federal program bribery to the mail fraud charges.
But a source also claimed Loughlin was kicking herself after hearing of the light 14-day sentence that “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman already served for bribing an SAT administrator to alter her daughter’s SAT scores.
If convicted, Loughlin and Giannulli could face up to 45-years in prison.
Will they likely serve that much time? No. They’re both first offenders and by that account alone it will be just a small fraction of the maximum.
Although, to be fair, the judge presiding over these cases has been harshly critical to many defendants, telling one of them they must “pay a substantial and conspicuous price for such unconscionable conduct.”
That defendant was real estate executive Toby MacFarlane who has an oddly similar case to Loughlin and Giannulli’s.
MacFarlane was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Coincidentally, he lied about his children’s athletic backgrounds to get them into the University of Southern California — and paid $450,000 (instead of $500,000) in bribes.
But MacFarlane didn’t face money laundering unless it was dropped in negotiation with the plea deal.
A legal analyst from, Dan Abrams, weighed in: “These cases are very similar. It’s almost the same amount of money. It’s two kids. It’s faking the profiles, etc. Now this was a guilty plea. This was someone who’s accepted responsibility for it, and is still getting six months. So you’ve got to believe if [Loughlin] were to take it to trial, with the additional charge that’s been thrown on her, if she was convicted, she’d be looking at a few years. I wouldn’t be surprised if she got 2 to 3 years if she’s convicted.”
2-3 years sounds accurate. And Huffman was released three days early from her 14-day sentence in October. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner was released months earlier of his sentence.
The couple will likely serve about 18 months if convicted. That’s the reality.