A federal judge said Friday that Lori Loughlin and her husband lived a useful “fantasy life” yet “bribed their daughters on their way to college,” and sentenced her to two months in prison.
The “Full House” actress looked choked and apologized.
“I am really sorry, deep and deep. I am ready to face the consequences and the reparations.” I made a bad decision. I allowed myself to swing from my moral compass. “
Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Musimo Giannoli, earlier Friday, was sentenced to five months in prison.
The defense positioned represented as a junior player in the scheme.
“She is very sorry,” said defense attorney PJ Trash. “Of all the parents accused in this investigation, none of them participated to a lesser degree.”
Prosecutors agreed that Giannulli was the most active parent in the scheme, but Assistant Attorney General Justin O’Connell described Laughlin as “totally complicit”.
“She agreed that fake sports profiles would be created for her daughters so that they could be recruited as birds in a sport that they hadn’t practiced,” O’Connell said.
More: Lori Loughlin, Musimo Giannulli Agree to Plead Guilty to College Admission Fraud Case
Loughlin, who appeared on a Zoom call to hear the verdict in a white button-down blouse, wore her hair straight and kept her gaze focused on the screen when she wasn’t customizing it.
Not content with the perks of her family, O’Connell said, “She chooses to cheat.” “I stole two admission sites from more deserving students.”
Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he had received two letters of support for Lauglin but that the defense refused to present a ruling warrant prior to the hearing.
Gorton declared himself “astonished” at Loughlin’s crime.
“Here you are a successful actor, a fan of a long marriage, two healthy children, more money than you could possibly need, and a fairy life. Yet you are standing in front of me as a convicted criminal. And why,” Gorton asked. “For the inexplicable desire to understand more.”
In ruling against Giannoli, the judge described their actions as “a remarkable crime against the country’s higher education system.”
The couple paid $ 500,000 for mastermind Rick Singer to admit their two daughters to the University of Southern California as recruits for the crew, though neither of them profaned. Friday’s ruling comes 17 months after their arrest.
“There is no ambiguity about the outcome,” Gorton said during the sentence of Giannoli, noting that the defense did not attempt to argue the government-recommended sentence of five months in prison, two years of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and a $ 250,000 fine. . .
Among the parents, prosecutors portrayed Giannulli as more active in the scheme.
“Giannulli’s behavior in this case is evidence of a complete disregard for right and wrong,” Assistant Attorney General Christine Kearney. “He went ahead with this scheme not once, but twice.”
More so: Prosecutors say Lori Loughlin deserves two months in prison for the college admission scam
Kearney said that Giannulli, 57, “exposed his daughters to the scheme and allowed them to complicit in it,” noting how Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli were pictured on a rowing machine as part of the fake Coxwin profiles and encouraged them to continue accepting her. To the USC “Silence, Silence.”
One of the girls received instructions on “how to hide the scheme from the mentor of the high school,” as indicated in the ruling warrant issued by the prosecution. According to the memo, Laughlin described the counselor as a “weasel.” Giannoli used an expletive and called him “curious”.
Both Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail scams and mail scams. Neither of them submitted papers to the judge prior to sentencing to try to influence his decision.
“This wasn’t just overzealous parenting,” said Kearney. “He is a criminal and deserves a five-month prison sentence.”
Giannoli, who appeared by video, briefly addressed the judge:
“I deeply regret the damage that my actions have caused to my daughters, my wife and others. I take full responsibility for my behavior.”
Judge Giannulli reprimanded him for the crime “out of arrogance”.
“You’re a knowledgeable, intelligent, and successful businessman,” said Gorton. You weren’t stealing bread to feed your family. You have no excuse. “
No argument from defense.
“It is an appropriate punishment when you balance Mr. Janioli’s life with the crime for which he is convicted,” said defense attorney Sean Berkowitz. “He sits humbly here today.”
Berkowitz described Giannoli as a “good man” who made mistakes.
More: Lori Loughlin Claims to Feed Evidence Hiding in ‘Varsity Blues’ College Entrance Scam
“He deeply regrets the inclusion of his wife in the scheme. His children have been bullied on social media and personally in a way that does not match the other children in this scheme,” Berkowitz said. “His family was the face of the scandal and the crisis.”
Upon issuing the verdict, Judge Gorton said that the crime did not cause “a specific and accountable loss to USC.” However, the judge said there was “definitely a loss in the public education system in this country.”
They were among 50 suspects in the investigation dubbed the Varsity Blues, which found wealthy parents who had cheated on university applications and entrance exams to get their children into elite schools. In some cases, prosecutors said, parents have bribed coaches who falsified student athletics history, including a case in which an actual image of an athlete was tampered with to appear to be a student.
In pleading guilty, Loughlin and Giannoli dropped earlier assertions that they believed their payments were legitimate donations. The couple had maintained their innocence for more than a year, and were repeatedly pleaded for innocence as prosecutors added charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud, bribery and money laundering. They encountered a federal judge for the first time in April 2019, when Loughlin was seen smiling, signing autographs, and greeting fans.
The couple was due to stand trial in October on their charges. Had the case been brought to trial in the fall, as planned, prosecutors said they would have used recorded phone calls, documents, emails, and witness testimonies to prove the couple’s guilt.