Loughlin, Giannulli Plead Guilty in College Scam but Await Fate
“Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty Friday to paying $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as part of a collegemissions bribery scheme, but a judge has not decided whether he’ll accept their plea deals with prosecutors.
Under the proposed deals, Loughlin, 55, hopes to spend two months in prison and Giannulli, 56, is seeking to serve five months. But U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said Friday at the famous couple’s video hearing that he will decide whether to accept or reject the plea deal after further consideration of the presentencing report.
The famous couple, who appeared on separate video screens, both sitting with a lawyer, made no comments during the hearing other than to answer the judge’s questions.
They were among dozens of wealthy parents, athletic coaches and others charged last year in the bribery scheme. The parents paid hefty bribes to get their kids into elite universities with bogus test scores or fake athletic credentials, authorities said.
The couple had been scheduled to go to trial in October on charges that they got their two daughters into USC as crew recruits, even though neither girl was a rower. Prosecutors say they funneled money through a sham charity operated by collegemissions consultant Rick Singer, who has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme.
Loughlin has also agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. Giannulli has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.
For more than a year, “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, insisted they were innocent of charges in the collegemissions bribery case. They accused investigators of fabricating evidence against them and seemed eager to bring their fight to trial.
Loughlin and Giannulli had argued they believed their payments were legitimate donations to the school or Singer’s charity and accused prosecutors of withholding evidence that would exonerate them. The judge earlier this month rejected the defense’s bid to dismiss the case over allegations of misconduct by federal agents.
They are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case.
Others who havemitted to participating in the scheme include “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman and the heir to the Hot Pockets fortune, Michelle Janavs. Huffman was sentenced to two weeks in prison and Janavs was sentenced to five months.
By Alanna Durkin Richer