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Lori Loughlin And Mossimo Giannulli Receive Prison Sentences For Admissions Scheme

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty in May for their roles in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.
Steven Senne
Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty in May for their roles in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Two of the most prominent figures in the college admissions scheme that the Justice Department uncovered last year are headed to prison.

Lori Loughlin, the actress best known as Aunt Becky on Full House, will serve two months in prison. Her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was sentenced on Friday to five months.

"I am truly and profoundly and deeply sorry," Loughlin said, choking up as she apologized to U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton, Reuters reported.

They pleaded guilty in May to fraud charges related to their efforts to have their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as rowing recruits despite not practicing the sport.

The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts announced the sentences on Twitter.Both sentences followed the terms of plea agreements between federal prosecutors and attorneys for the defendants.

Giannulli must also serve two years of supervised release following his sentence, complete 250 hours of community service and pay a fine of $250,000. Loughlin must serve two years of supervised release, pay a $150,000 fine and complete 100 hours of community service.

"I deeply regret the harm that my actions have caused my daughters, my wife and others," Giannulli said in a short statement during the hearing, according to The Associated Press.

"I take full responsibility for my conduct. I am ready to accept the consequences and move forward with the lessons I've learned from this experience," he added.

At the sentencing, Gorton chastised Giannulli for taking part in the admissions scheme.

"You were not stealing bread to feed your family," Gorton said, according to the AP. "You have no excuse for your crime and that makes it all the more blameworthy."

The wire service reported that Giannulli was ordered to surrender on Nov. 19.

The couple entered plea agreements with the U.S. attorney's office in May. For her part, Loughlin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Her husband pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud.

They were the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case, according to federal officials.

Loughlin became the face of the admissions scandal, in part because of her celebrity, and also because unlike other parents accused in the elaborate scheme, she and Giannulli long maintained their innocence.

In April 2019, the couple pleaded not guiltyin federal court after being accused of paying a bribe worth $500,000 in exchange for securing their daughters' admission into USC.

The bribes were paid to William "Rick" Singer, the mastermind of the wide-ranging enterprise, which included creating bogus sports profiles for well-off parents hoping to shirk the traditional admissions process to get their children accepted to prestigious schools.

Singer is awaiting sentencing. He has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice — and now faces a prison sentence of more than 50 years. However, Justice Department officials said he is cooperating with the government's investigation, and they have recommended a prison sentence at the lower end of the sentencing guideline range.

In all, 55 people have been charged in connection with the admissions scheme, which federal officialsfirst announced in March 2019 in Boston.

The Justice Department framed the venture as a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards.

In addition to creating sham athletic profiles, the scheme included "bribing SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test taker ... to secretly take college entrance exams in place of students or to correct the students' answers after they had taken the exam."

The scam has also swept up a number of collegiate coaches.

Former USC soccer coach Laura Janke pleaded guilty in May 2019 to a racketeering conspiracy charge related to the scandal, including $130,000 in illegal payouts. Like Loughlin and Giannulli, she had previously said she did not take part in the scheme.

As NPR reported, Janke helped create a number of bogus sports profiles, including ones for Loughlin and Giannulli's daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose.

Another well-known actress, Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame, was also convicted in the scheme. She was handed a 14-day prison sentence in September for paying thousands of dollars in exchange for having one of her children's SAT scores boosted.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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