Aunt Becky is headed to prison. Though she did all she could to avoid a similar fate as Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin realized it’s time to plead guilty for her part of the college admission scandal and go to jail.
Lori Loughlin, 55, spent the past 14-months fighting the charges levied against her in “Operation Varsity Blues,” aka the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, but on May 20, 2020, she tapped out. Lori and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, 56, will now plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection to securing their daughters’ admission into the University of Southern California. According to her plea agreement, which is subject to the Court’s approval, Lori will now spend two months prison in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
Mossimo, on the other hand, has agreed to spend five months behind bars in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of honest services wire and mail fraud. Honest services fraud, as described by FindLaw, is “a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” The couple has also agreed to pay fines — $150,000 for Lori, $250,000 for Mossimo – and completing hours of community service (100 for Lori, 250 for Moss.) This agreement doesn’t specifically say when they would serve these proposed sentences, though. The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa and Joe Giudice were both similarly convicted of fraud in 2013, and they served their sentences (15 months for Teresa, 41 months for Joe) one after each other. This was done so that one parent would be out of jail to watch over their young children.
However, Lori and Mossimo’s daughters – Isabella, 21, and Olivia Jade, 20 – are no longer minors, so such mercy may not apply here. Another thing to consider is the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has caused many “white collar” criminals – like Michael Cohen – to serve their sentences while under house arrest. So, while Lori is going to “jail,” her prison might just actually be her home.
Lori’s fight to the bitter end is the opposite of what Felicity Huffman, 57, did. The Desperate Housewives star was the other major celeb named in “Operation Varsity Blues,” and she was accused of paying a $15,000 bribe as part of a scheme to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Instead of lawyering up, Felicity pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud a month after she was charged. She was sentenced to two weeks in jail but was released after serving just 11 days due to provision in the California Bureau of Prisons.
Was there a chance of Lori getting similarly light sentence if she had pleaded guilty instead of fighting for a year? Not really, according to Joseph B. Simons, a MA state criminal attorney who spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about the differences in Felicity and Lori’s crimes. Felicity was charged with paying a $15k bribe to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Lori and her husband allegedly paid $500,000 to the college admissions scandal’s mastermind, Rick Singer, to get Isabella and Olivia admitted into the University of Southern California under the false pretense that they were crew team recruits.
“Sentencing is largely driven by the federal sentencing guidelines. The amount of money at issue in a fraud case substantially impacts the suggested sentence,” EXCLUSIVELY explained to HollywoodLife in 2019. “Lori Loughlin is alleged to have spent over $500,000 in 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.”
So, while Lori has agreed to jail time, we don’t know yet when or where she’ll serve that time.