Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges related to the college admissions scandal, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. Loughlin and Giannulli are the 23rd and 24th parents who pleaded guilty in the case.
Loughlin, 55, agreed to two months in prison, a $ 150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service.
Giannulli, 56, agreed to five months in prison, a $ 250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service. Both punishments are subject to court approval.
They must plead guilty on Friday at 11:30 am, according to the US Attorney in Massachusetts.
"Loughlin will plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit electronic and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit electronic and mail fraud and honest services," says a Justice Department press release.
"These defendants serve a prison sentence, reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admission process and that are consistent with previous sentences in this case. We will continue to seek accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions," said the United States attorney Andrew E. Lelling.
The couple is accused of paying $ 500,000 to insure his two daughters admission to the University of Southern California, USC, masking them as potential athletic recruits. AN fake resume to his daughter Olivia Jade, a YouTube star, shows that the couple pretended that Jade was a talented rower.
The fake document details an elaborate list of praise for rowing, including gold medals and top 15 results at the head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, one of the most prestigious rowing events. All achievements could have been easily verified, but USC associate athletic director at the time, Donna Heinel, is accused of participating in the coup.
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Lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli said the couple did nothing wrong and the half million dollars they paid were "legitimate donations". A motion to dismiss the charges was dismissed earlier this month. The couple's lawyers argued that federal agents had trained William "Rick" singer, the alleged leader of the scheme, to "uncover the truth", but US District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton ruled that the prosecution's actions were not misconduct.
According to court documents, government agents contacted Singer six months after the investigation, and he agreed to wiretap and discuss the alleged bribe. On October 2, 2018, Singer wrote in his Notes application for iPhone that government agents "heavily armed" he and instructed him to lie for incriminating information, court documents said. The government has since admitted that this was a mistake.
Loughlin and Giannulli were part of a large group of parents who used Singer's services as a supposed college admissions advisor. More than 50 parents and college employees were accused of participating in the coup, considered the biggest college admissions scandal in US history.
At least 20 parents have already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scandal, including actress Felicity Huffman, who served his 14-day sentence.