Mossimo Giannulli was sentenced to 5 months in prison Friday morning for his role in the widespread college admissions scandal. As part of his sentence, which was handed down via a Zoom call, Giannulli will also pay a $250,000 fine and serve 250 hours of community service. The fashion designer and wife Lori Loughlin previously admitted to paying the scheme's mastermind, William Rick Singer, $500,000 to get both of their daughters into the University of Southern California.
In May, Giannulli and the Full House actress — whose sentencing is expected to be handed down Friday afternoon — pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors. Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. Loughlin, who was reportedly less involved than her husband, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
The sentencing brings an end to the saga for the famous couple, who fought to avoid prison time from the moment they were charged by federal authorities in March 2019. They had initially pleaded not guilty and were willing to roll the dice in court but changed their minds earlier this year. Prosecutors formally asked on Tuesday that Loughlin be sentenced to two months in prison and Giannulli five months. Giannulli was also facing a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service, while prosecutors recommended a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service for Loughlin. They each would also receive two years of supervised release. On Friday, Judge Nathaniel Gorton said that he would accept the plea deal.
"He engaged more frequently with Singer, directed the bribe payments to USC and Singer, and personally confronted his daughter's high school counselor to prevent the scheme from being discovered, brazenly lying about his daughter's athletic abilities," wrote US Attorney Andrew Lelling of Massachusetts in the detention memo released on Tuesday. "Loughlin took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit, eagerly enlisting Singer a second time for her younger daughter, and coaching her daughter not to 'say too much' to her high school's legitimate college counselor, lest he catch on to their fraud."
Giannulli and Loughlin entered into what is known in the federal system as a "C Plea," which takes away the judge's power to deviate from the terms that have already been agreed upon — which means the judge did not have much wiggle room on the recommended sentencing from prosecutors. Still, the prison time Giannulli received on Friday (and what Loughlin is expected to receive later in the day) is significantly less than what could have been. Had the couple gone to trial and been convicted, they could have faced up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, prosecutors said.
So far, 55 defendants have been charged in connection with the sweeping scandal. Of those, 41 have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty, according to the US Attorney's Office. Of those, 28 parents, including Loughlin and Giannulli, initially pleaded not guilty. Twenty parents have been sentenced; 13 others, including coaches, administrators, members of Singer's group and Mark Riddell — the expert test-taker — have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.
Actress Felicity Huffman, the other high-profile parent involved, pleaded guilty and spent 11 days in jail last fall. She was released in October and has not spoken publicly about the incident, aside from her tearful apologies and statements in court.