The United States Department of Justice just slapped Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, with even more charges related to their roles in the college admissions scandal. On Tuesday, October 22, the stars were accused of conspiring to commit federal program bribery when they allegedly bribed University of Southern California (USC) employees in order to guarantee their children’s admission. “In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities – or as members of other favored admissions categories,” reads a press release shared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts.
“Today’s charges are the result of ongoing investigation in the nationwide college admissions case,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Our goal from the beginning has been to hold the defendants fully accountable for corrupting the college admissions process through cheating, bribery and fraud. The superseding indictments will further that effort.” According to the press release, a conviction of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery can carry with it a sentence of up to “five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.”
The California parents have so far pleaded not guilty to the charges they’ve faced. As it turns out, though, their pals aren’t so sure that was a wise move. “Lori’s friends are concerned,” a source close to the actress told Us Weekly. “They say she should have followed [Felicity Huffman]’s lead and accepted responsibility.” After accepting a plea deal, the Desperate Housewives star will only be serving 14 days behind bars. Though the Fuller House star hoped to arrange a plea deal that would guarantee her no prison time, being hit with additional charges makes that seem unlikely.
Though she’s still enjoying her freedom for now, the legal battle has started to take its toll on Lori’s marriage. Sources say the couple’s daughter Bella Giannulli is “extremely concerned” her parents are “going to get divorced” because of the stress. And she might be right to worry. Us Weekly reported in September that the actress’ friends “think she should leave” her husband, blaming him for the duo’s decision to fight in court instead of accept a deal. “Lori was inclined to take [it], but Mossimo said it would ruin both of their careers,” the insider alleged.
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