Lori Loughlin to plead guilty in college admissions scandal, agrees to serve two months in prison

After spending the last 16 months protesting their innocence, the couple has become the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the college bribery case


                            Lori Loughlin to plead guilty in college admissions scandal, agrees to serve two months in prison
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli (Getty Images)

In a surprising move, Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have entered a guilty plea in the college bribery admissions scandal after maintaining their innocence for more than 16 months. On Thursday, May 21, the Justice Department announced in a press release that Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, both of Los Angeles, California, will plead guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton on a date to be specified by the court.

Loughlin is set to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while her husband will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud usually carries with it a sentence of up 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

But under the terms of the actress' plea agreement, her defense team has agreed to a sentence, subject to the court’s approval, of two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. Under the terms of Gianulli's plea agreement, the parties have agreed to a sentence, subject to the Court’s approval, of five months in prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service. 

This recent development coming 14 months after her arrest in March 2019. At the time, she was accused of conspiring with William 'Rick' Singer, a Newport Beach consultant at the epicenter of the scandal, to pass off her two daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli, as promising rowing recruits and all but guaranteeing them a seat at the University of Southern California.

In an affidavit filed in court, an FBI agent said she and her husband began discussing the plot with Singer in April 2016 and saw coxswain as their ticket into USC, even though neither of their daughters was a rower, because it had an acceptance rate of 13 percent or higher. Prosecutors alleged that Loughlin and Giannulli paid Singer a total of $500,000, though, for the last year-and-a-half, the couple claimed Singer had misled them into believing the money was destined for legitimate university purposes, not bribes to corrupt school employees.

Just earlier this month, a judge had dismissed their request to have the charges dismissed on grounds of outrageous government conduct, and Loughlin and Giannulli are now the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the college admissions case. Earlier actress Felicity Huffman, after a guilty plea last year, became the first parent to be sentenced in the scandal when she was given 14 days in prison.

"Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case," United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement. "We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions."

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