May 21, 2020 / 1:29 PM / 3 months ago

Actress Lori Loughlin, husband to plead guilty to U.S. college admissions scam

(Reuters) - “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband have agreed to plead guilty to U.S. charges they conspired to fraudulently secure their daughters admission to the University of Southern California, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Loughlin, 55, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, 56, 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 on Friday to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Loughlin and Giannulli also agreed to pay fines of $150,000 and $250,000, respectively.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in a statement 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 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.

The 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.

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

FILE PHOTO: Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, arrive at the federal courthouse for a hearing on charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Josh Reynolds/File Photo

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 Friday, 24 of the 36 parents charged will have pleaded guilty, including “Desperate Housewives” 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.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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