If federal prosecutors get their way, Fuller House star Lori Loughlin is less than a week away from spending two months in federal prison for fraudulently paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get her daughters admitted into a top-tier school. Her husband, fashion designer spouse Mossimo Giannulli, would get an even harsher sentence.
“The government respectfully requests that the Court impose the agreed-upon dispositions: a term of imprisonment of five months, a $250,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service for Giannulli; and a term of imprisonment of two months, a $150,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service for Loughlin,” said a sentencing memo (read it here) today from the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.
The chagrined duo are due to be sentenced separately Friday in Boston before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton.
While the in-person and COVID-19-dictated virtual hearings in the college bribery scandal took place in Massachusetts federal court, Loughlin and Giannulli are expected to serve their incarceration in a California federal prison like fellow college admissions scammer Felicity Huffman did last year.
Far from the harshest sentence of the ongoing probe, Loughlin will be serving considerably more time than fellow Hollywood star Huffman, who also pleaded guilty in the case and in September 2019 was sentenced to 14 days in a federal prison for her role. Huffman, an Oscar nominee, had made a deal with the government fairly quickly and had handed over just $15,000 to phony Key Worldwide Foundation boss William “Rick” Singer, as opposed to the half a million Loughlin and Giannulli paid out for their daughters.
However, similar to Huffman, first-time offender Loughlin will likely end up serving far less of her actual sentence, if any at all. Loughlin and Giannulli could benefit also from the coronavirus pandemic hitting the overcrowded prison system; the health crisis has seen the feds and states let scores of non-violent offenders serve out their time at home to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.
For those paying attention, the terms expressed by the government in Monday’s filing are exactly the same as those in the guilty-plea agreement lawyers inked with prosecutors back in May. After months of fighting prosecutors over their individual indictments in the nationwide Operation Varsity Blues, the couple obviously saw the legal writing on the wall and the long stretch they could face in prison if found guilty by a jury.
Having formally pleaded not guilty in mid-April last year after first turning down a government deal, Loughlin and Giannulli were initially accused of paying “bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their offspring designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to a 200-page indictment made public on March 12 last year that snagged more than 30 parents nationwide.
“Loughlin took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit, eagerly enlisting Singer a second time for her younger daughter, and coaching her daughter not to ‘say too much’ to her high school’s legitimate college counselor, lest he catch on to their fraud,” the feds said today, putting Giannulli more at fault for “brazenly lying” to cover up the shenanigans.
Originally looking at around 50 years behind bars and millions in fines for handing out the big bucks and fake qualifications to Singer in successful efforts to get their girls into the California university, Loughlin choose the path of least resistance and more lenient punishment.
While it is anticipated that the Latham & Watkins attorneys for now-disgraced When Calls the Heart actor and her husband may attempt to have the sentencing cut down a bit further, that is primarily seen as courtroom theater by all concerned.
The U.S. Attorney’s office had no further comment on the case besides today’s filing. Reps for Loughlin and Giannulli did not respond to request for comment from Deadline, but really what more is there to say as this drama comes to a close.