Last month, when 50 people, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were indicted in connection to a college admissions scam, the FBI said that more indictments were likely to be coming down the pipeline. As it turns out, they weren’t kidding — and Loughlin, who is best known for playing Aunt Becky on the beloved Nineties sitcom Full House, is now facing some serious prison time as a result.
According to a statement on Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the district of Massachusetts, 16 parents, including Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, have been charged with a second superseding indictment: conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years prison time.
Essentially, Loughlin, Giannulli, and the other 14 parents are charged with funneling the bribes to college admissions officials and coaches through a fake charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, and a for-profit company, the Key; both of which were set up by William “Rick” Singer, the alleged mastermind behind the scam.
The additional money laundering charge is bad news for Loughlin and Giannulli, who are accused of paying Singer $500,000 to have their two daughters admitted as crew recruits to the University of Southern California, despite the fact that the girls did not row crew. One of the daughters, Olivia Jade, is a YouTube influencer who has dropped out of USC and has lost multiple brand endorsements as a result of the scandal; she is reportedly also not speaking to her parents.
The new charges against Loughlin and Giannulli mean that they’ll likely be serving much more prison time than Felicity Huffman, the former Desperate Housewives star and other high-profile defendant named in the initial round of indictments, who is accused of paying Singer $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT scores. On Wednesday, Huffman was one of 14 defendants charged in the college admissions scandal to enter a guilty plea. She issued a statement admitting her guilt in the scandal and professing remorse for her role in the scandal: “I am in full acceptance of my guilt…My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” Huffman said.
As a result of Huffman’s guilty plea, federal law enforcement sources will recommend that Huffman serve only four months behind bars, according to Page Six. She will also likely be ordered to pay a fine of about $20,000, plus restitution.
According to TMZ, Loughlin and Giannulli were also offered a plea deal by prosecutors, which would have required them to serve two years’ prison time — a much higher sentence than Huffman due to the relative seriousness of their charges, including the much higher amount of money they paid Singer in bribes. Loughlin and Giannulli either refused or delayed accepting the plea deals, which led them to being slapped with the additional, more serious money laundering charge.
In contrast with Huffman’s contrite demeanor, Loughlin’s upbeat behavior during her trial probably did not do her any favors when it came to engendering sympathy from prosecutors. Last week, an effervescent Loughlin appeared at a hearing signing autographs and waving to supporters outside the courthouse, drawing a great deal of criticism from people on social media, who accused her of not taking the criminal charges against her seriously. With this superseding indictment, which comes with a great deal more potential prison time, it’s unlikely that when her next court appearance rolls around, she’ll be nearly as cheerful.