Lori Loughlin won’t be getting out of her college admissions scandal with a lenient 14 days in prison like Felicity Huffman received. There’s a big reason her penalty could be far more harsh.
Actresses Felicity Huffman, 56, and Lori Loughlin, 55, took much different approaches after they were arrested in March for their part in Operation Varsity Blues. The former Desperate Housewives star plead guilty and got a light 14 day prison sentence for paying a proctor $15,000 to doctor her daughter’s SAT scores 400 points higher. Lori on the other hand plead a defiant not guilty to paying the college admissions scandal’s mastermind Rick Singer $500,000 to get her two daughters into U.S.C. as athletic recruits by bribing coaches. As a result, she’s looking at a much stiffer prison sentence if found guilty.
“Sentencing is largely driven by the federal sentencing guidelines. The amount of money at issue in a fraud case substantially impacts the suggested sentence. For example, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to spending $15,000 on the fraud. Her ‘guidelines’ sentence would have been 0-6 months, and the judge sentenced her to 14 days,” Joseph B. Simons, MA state criminal attorney EXCLUSIVELY explains to HollywoodLife.com. “Lori Loughlin is alleged to have spent over $500,000 in a fraud. By my calculations, a guilty plea would lead to a guidelines sentence of 21-27 months, while a conviction after trial would be between 30 and 37 months.” Three years in prison? Ouch!
Lori and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, 56, had an addition charge of money laundering added to their fraud charge when they plead not guilty. Should they go though a trial and lose, they’re in for more prison time. “If Lori and Mossimo are confident that the evidence will exonerate them, and they are willing to take the risk of going to trial, good for them. I don’t have the evidence. There is almost always a higher sentence after trial than before, because judges usually reward defendants for accepting responsibility for their actions.”
The federal prosecutor on Lori’s case has already said he’s looking for a much stiffer sentence for Lori than he did for Felicity. “If she is convicted, I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence for her than we did for Felicity Huffman,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said during an appearance on WCVB-5 Boston’s On the Record. “I can’t tell you exactly what that would be. The longer the case goes, let’s say she goes through to trial, if it’s after trial, I think certainly we’d be asking for something substantially higher. If she resolved her case short of trial, something a little lower than that. It’s tough to tell at this point.