It’s official: Lori Loughlin pleads guilty in college admissions scam

In this April 3, 2019, photo, Lori Loughlin, left, arrives at federal court in Boston with her attorney Sean Berkowitz to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.
In this April 3, 2019, photo, Lori Loughlin, left, arrives at federal court in Boston with her attorney Sean Berkowitz to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal.(Steven Senne/AP)

Everywhere she looks, everywhere she goes — she’s now an admitted felon.
“Full House” star Lori Loughlin, 55, pleaded guilty Friday in the college admissions bribery scandal after more than a year of fighting charges.
“Has anyone attempted to force you to plead guilty here this morning,” U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton asked the actress over video during the Zoom hearing attended by more than 230 people.
“No one has forced me to plead guilty, your honor,” Loughlin answered, shortly before formally entering her new plea.
Loughlin’s fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, 56, also changed his plea to “guilty” Friday, setting the couple up on a collision course with prison time.
They agreed federal prosecutors in Boston would be able to prove at trial that they conspired to pay $500,000 to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew team recruits.
Loughlin sat quietly next to her lawyer Sean Berkowitz as U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen described the emails and recorded phone calls amassed as evidence against the couple.
Her eyes widened with apparent surprise when Rosen said prosecutors had a text message she sent to her younger daughter in Jan. 2018, cautioning the teen against saying “too much” to her college counselor about USC being her top choice because it might be a red flag.
But when the judge asked if Loughlin “disagreed” with anything Rosen said that the government would be able to prove at trial, she replied, “No, your honor.”
According to her pact with prosecutors, Loughlin has agreed to serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine, serve 100 hours of community service and spend two years of supervised release.
Giannulli agreed to serve five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine, serve 250 hours of community service and remain on supervised release for two years.
Judge Gorton now has the final say on approving or denying the terms of the deals. If he rejects the pacts as too lenient after reading their pre-sentencing reports, the couple can change their pleas again, he said.
“If I decide to reject the plea agreements, you will then have an opportunity to withdraw your plea and change it to not guilty,” he said during the 40-minute hearing Friday morning.
Gorton said he found Loughlin and Giannulli “competent and capable” enough to enter their new pleas and set their separate sentencing hearings for Aug. 21.
Giannulli’s lawyer asked for an earlier sentencing date of July 30, say the couple seeks “finality,” but the judge only promised to take the request “under advisement.”
The celebrity spouses are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the sprawling case dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
The longest sentence so far imposed was the nine months given to retired bond bigwig Douglas Hodge.
Hodge paid $525,000 to get two of his seven kids into the University of Southern California as fake soccer and football team recruits.
He also paid $325,000 to a Georgetown University coach to have his oldest daughter and son admitted to the elite school as tennis recruits, prosecutors said.
As Loughlin’s case progressed, sources reportedly told People magazine the actress regretted not striking a deal early on.
Former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, the other high-profile actress arrested in the sting, was one of the first to admit guilt.
She stood in a courtroom last May and tearfully confessed to paying $15,000 to rig her older daughter’s college entrance exam.
She was sentenced to 14 days behind bars in September, reported to jail in October and was released two days early.

After Loughlin and Giannulli made it clear they intended to fight their initial charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wife fraud, prosecutors added additional counts of money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

The couple hired a high-powered team of lawyers, claimed the FBI pressured scam mastermind Rick Singer to lie and even convinced a judge federal officials made judgment errors when it came to sharing possibly exculpatory evidence.

But their attempts to overturn the charges or at least postpone their fall trial date failed.

With jury selection slated to start in a matter of months, the couple caved.

The government agreed to drop the money laundering and bribery charges in exchange for their guilty pleas.

“Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case,” U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said Thursday.


  1. Ehy do they get plea deals in middle of trial?

  2. Ok. this is another case of "the crime du jour". she got bagged,a dn she pleaded guilty. So big deal. A mother gets caught bending the rules so her kid can get into a prestigious school. the schools all suck anyway. Why should college attendance mean so much? That's the REAL story. Why should corporations want brain-dead college kids who studied god-knows-what, when they can get an energetic 17 or 18 year old right out of high school ready to work and learn on the job? Pulling strings to get one's kids into a chosen school is an old tradition in America among people of means. Who cares that she did it?

  3. meanwhile rick singer, the mastermind of all this who is guilty of soliciting the bribes, has turned state's evidence with a plea-deal to implicate/testify against the parents who he solicited the bribes from. well done prosecutors! making the world safe from parents who try to garner an advantage for their children.

  4. only plead because they got a slap on the wrist deal. these deals need to end with real consequences.


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