Actress Lori Loughlin, husband plead guilty in US college admissions scandal

Lori Loughlin (right) and Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to serve two months and five months in prison respectively. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband on Friday (May 22) pleaded guilty to participating in a vast US college admissions fraud scheme to secure spots for their daughters at the University of Southern California.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, appeared before a federal judge in Boston through a Zoom videoconference to enter their pleas under agreements calling for them to serve two months and five months in prison, respectively.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

But US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he would hold off on deciding whether to accept or reject their plea deals, which restrict his ability to impose different sentences.

Loughlin, 55, and Giannulli, 56, have also agreed to be sentenced to respective fines of US$150,000 (S$200,000) and US$250,000 and 100 and 250 hours of community service.

Gorton scheduled their sentencings for Aug 21 despite defence attorney William Trach's request for an earlier date so the Los Angeles couple could have "finality."

Loughlin and Giannulli 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.

Consultant William "Rick" Singer pleaded guilty last year to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of parents' children to schools as fake athletic recruits.

Other famous parents include Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, who received a 14-day prison sentence.

Prosecutors allege Loughlin and Giannulli conspired with Singer to fabricate parts of their daughters' university applications so they could be admitted as fake rowing team recruits.

Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen said Giannulli also paid US$500,000 to induce a university employee to facilitate the recruitment of his daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli.

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