May 22, 2020 / 10:02 AM / 4 days ago

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

BOSTON, May 22 (Reuters) - “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband will appear by video on Friday to plead guilty to participating in a vast U.S. college admissions fraud scheme to secure spots for their daughters at the University of Southern California.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to serve two months and five months in prison, respectively, under plea agreements that are subject to approval by a federal judge in Boston.

They are expected to appear before the judge during a hearing conducted through the Zoom videoconferencing platform due to restrictions on in-court proceedings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Loughlin and Giannulli agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and to pay fines of $150,000 and $250,000, respectively.

They 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, 55, and Giannulli, 56, agreed with Singer to pay $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, admitted to USC as fake crew team recruits.

The couple had been scheduled to face trial in October alongside several other parents.

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; Editing by Tom Brown)

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