Lori Loughlin Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Scandal After More Than a Year in Court

Lori Loughlin has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection to the college admissions scandal. After months of denying her involvement in the sweeping case, which was nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues and first went public in March of 2019, Loughlin, along with her husband Mossimo Giannulli, officially entered guilty pleas on Friday. The guilty pleas make the couple the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case and come a year after actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty for her involvement. Huffman has since served her time behind bars.

Taking place via a Zoom video conference due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Full House actress pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, the Boston Globe reports. Her husband entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud as well as honest services wire and mail fraud. US District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton will decide whether to accept or reject the pleas after reviewing pre sentencing reports.

The pleas are part of a plea deal recently reached that was announced just a day prior to the hearing by the U.S. Department of Justice of Massachusetts. In a statement, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said that "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" and promised to "continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions."

Neither Loughlin not Giannulli have yet been sentenced, though the plea deal reached offered a more lenient outcome than what they otherwise would have faced if found guilty in trial. Pending court’s approval, Loughlin will serve two months in prison and also be required to pay a $150,000 fine and serve two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. Giannulli will serve five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine, and serve two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.

The guilty pleas come more than a year after Operation Varsity Blues first went public, charging more than 50 people in the sweeping college admissions scandal that rocked media headlines for months. According to the allegations, Loughlin and Giannulli paid William "Rick" Singer, a consultant at the heart of the widespread scandal, $500,000 to have their two daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Giannulli, admitted into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, despite neither of them having ever participated in the sport.