Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli both pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from the U.S. college admissions scandal. Their federal court hearing was held via Zoom because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FBI and federal prosecutors brought charges against Loughlin and Giannulli nearly a year ago, and their plea agreements were released Thursday.
The couple had previously denied being involved in the college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents dealt out large bribes in order to get their children accepted to prestigious schools with falsified resumes and test scores. They were accused of paying a total of $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, though neither girl actually participated in the sport.
Loughlin, who is known for her roles on family friendly shows like “Full House” and its reboot “Fuller House,” pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. She agreed with the U.S. attorney’s office to be sentenced to two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and 24 months of supervised release that will include 100 hours of community service.
Giannulli’s guilty plea included stiffer penalties. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud and agreed to serve five months, a $250,000 fine, two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service.
However, U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton could still change their sentences. Both Loughlin and Giannulli’s plea agreements include special provisions that allow them to argue during sentencing that there was prosecutorial misconduct during the legal proceedings, and that they received ineffective counsel from their defense team. Earlier this month Gorton refused to a defense request to dismiss charges in the case.
The couple is scheduled for separate sentencing hearings on Aug. 21.