Loughlin to plead guilty to admissions fraud

BOSTON • American actress Lori Loughlin and her husband have agreed to plead guilty to charges that they conspired to fraudulently secure their daughters' college admissions, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

The Full House (1987 to 1995) star and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to serve two months and five months in prison respectively, under plea agreements filed in federal court in Boston.

They are expected to plead guilty early today (Singapore time) to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. They also agreed to pay fines of US$150,000 (S$213,000) and US$250,000 respectively.

In a statement, United States attorney Andrew Lelling said the plea deals ensure "these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process".

Their lawyers declined to comment.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, are among 53 people charged with participating in a scheme where wealthy parents conspired with a California college admissions consultant to use bribery and fraud to secure their children's admission to top schools.

The consultant, William "Rick" Singer, pleaded guilty last year to facilitating cheating on college entrance examinations and using bribery to secure the admission of the children to schools as fake athletic recruits.

Prosecutors allege Loughlin and Giannulli agreed with Singer to pay US$500,000 in bribes to have their two daughters admitted into the University of Southern California as fake rowing-team recruits.

The couple had been scheduled to face trial in October alongside other parents. Their lawyers previously contended they believed their money was being used for university donations.

By yesterday, 24 of the 36 parents charged would have pleaded guilty, including Desperate Housewives (2004 to 2012) star Felicity Huffman, who received a 14-day prison sentence.

The longest sentence a parent has received was the nine-month term imposed on Douglas Hodge, the former chief executive of investment firm Pimco.

.REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2020, with the headline 'Loughlin to plead guilty to admissions fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe