Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli obviously pleaded not guilty to mail fraud when they were initially charged earlier this year in a sprawling nationwide probe conducted by the FBI.
Loughlin and Giannulli called the prosecutors’ bluff but they consequently added a money laundering charge on top of mail fraud, which if convicted, could land each of them in prison for up to 40 years.
But the prosecutors added a brand new charge against Loughlin and Giannulli, and nine other parents in the college admissions scandal.
Former Hallmark and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, and her clothing designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are facing serious prison time after they bribed the University of Southern California in exchange for admitting their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into the prestigious school.
They are both accused of paying the USC Crew team $500,000 even though neither one of them played the sport. Federal prosecutors charged them both with mail fraud.
Loughlin and Giannulli refused to take the federal prosecutors’ initial plea so they added money laundering on top of that too. If they had both admitted guilt they may not have gotten a light sentence; probably not the 14-day sentence that “Desperate Housewives” actress, Felicity Huffman, is currently serving after paying $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT scores altered, but it would’ve probably been a slap on the wrist by most comparisons.
The couple was facing up to 40 years in prison.
But unfortunately for them, their maximum sentence is even longer now if convicted.
The Justice Department announced on Tuesday the couple, and nine other parents were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery, which is a felony accusing all eleven parents of attempting to bribe officials at an organization that receives at least $10,000 in federal funding.
These prosecutors are not playing around.
Each charge of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery carries a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
In a statement from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, he said these latest charges are still part of an ongoing investigation saying these defendants are “fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud.”
This is the game that’s played by prosecutors. If defendants continue to maintain their innocence then prosecutors will keep hanging more and more prison time over their heads in order to force a plea deal. For prosecutors, time is money, and the more time they spend on a particular case prevents them from work on other cases.
Loughlin and Giannulli were reportedly kicking themselves for not admitting guilt right away after seeing the light sentence Huffman received. It was a jaw-dropping moment for them and one source said, “This has been a rough day. Lori is going to move forward as best as she can, but now she has a little more clarity about what will happen next.”
Not likely, as Huffman admitted her guilt right away. It’s a huge difference.
Another source said of the potential of jail time for Loughlin, “If she’s found guilty, she will go to jail; that is clear. And if another deal is offered to her, which I don’t think it will be, she will go to jail. Her only chance of avoiding jail is to beat these charges. Lori is a smart woman; she understands that. She’s scared and upset, but she’s resolved to be strong and to fight this. She will do what she has to do to protect herself and her family.”
Loughlin and Giannulli are facing up to 45 years now. If they are found guilty on all charges they are not likely to serve anywhere close to that amount of time, but it could be a sizable chunk.