US actress to plead guilty in college admissions scam

Updated May 22, 2020

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Actress Felicity Huffman, escorted by her husband William H. Macy. — AFP/File
Actress Felicity Huffman, escorted by her husband William H. Macy. — AFP/File

NEW YORK: American actress Lori Loughlin is set to plead guilty and accept prison time over her role in a sprawling college admissions scandal, US prosecutors said on Thursday.

The star of the 1980s-90s sitcom Full House along with her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among 50 people indicted in an elaborate scam to secure spots for privileged children at prestigious US universities.

They are both set to plead guilty to fraud before a Massachusetts federal judge, according to the court docket.

Prosecutors in the north-eastern state had said the pair paid $500,000 to gain admission for their two daughters at the University of Southern California as recruits to the crew team — a sport neither had ever trained in.

The terms of the plea agreement would see Loughlin serve two months in prison, with a $150,000 fine and two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service.

Her husband’s recommended sentence is slightly stiffer: Giannulli’s agreement would involve five months of prison, a $250,000 fine and two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service. Both sentences are subject to court approval.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, previously had denied charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, bribery and transfer funds.

Those charges could carry penalties of up to 45 years in prison if convicted. The pair are set to become the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case, according to a statement from the US Justice Department.

“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,” said US Attorney Andrew Lelling.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2020