Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli reportedly thought prosecutors in her college admissions cheating case were bluffing when they declined a plea deal that called for 2.5 years in prison. Well, prosecutors have called their bluff and added additional money laundering charges to their indictment — meaning they are now facing 20 years behind bars, according to E! News. Yikes!
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying as much as $500,000 (£375,000) in bribes to the University of Southern California's crew coach to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into the school.
"She has been in complete denial and thought maybe she could skate by. She refused to accept any jail time and thought the DA was bluffing. She was adamant she wouldn't do any jail time," a source told the outlet. "Lori is finally realising just how serious this is. She is seeing the light that she will do jail time and is freaking out."
On Monday, actress Felicity Huffman, along with 12 other parents involved in the college admissions scam dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" by the FBI, pleaded guilty to “using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to selective colleges and universities.” While plea hearings have not yet been scheduled, CNN reports that federal prosecutors recommend incarceration for Huffman at the "low end" of the sentencing range – likely 12 months of supervised release and a $20,000 (£15,000) fine.
For her role in the scandal, Huffman has accepted full responsibility, saying she is in, "full acceptance of [her] guilt." In a statement released on Monday the actress said, “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college.”
As for Loughlin's influencer daughter Olivia Jade, a legal expert says she could very well find herself charged in the case, too. "The more time that passes, however, the more likely it is that the prosecutor will bring pressure by seeking to interview the children as part of the evidence," William Moran, an attorney who specialises in crisis management, told Refinery29. "If Olivia Jade knew and participated, she could face criminal liability. As long as charges against the parents are pending, the children are still vulnerable."
This story has been updated.