The actress and husband Mossimo Giannulli will serve prison time as part of their plea deal.

By Dan Snierson
May 21, 2020 at 10:17 AM EDT
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Lori Loughlin will plead guilty in the widespread college admissions scandal that has rocked the world of higher education.

The Full House star and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in which they will plead guilty to conspiracy charges for fraudulently securing admission for their two daughters to the University of Southern California, the U.S. District Attorney's office in Massachusetts announced on Thursday. The couple were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes and posing their daughters as crew recruits to facilitate admission to the university, even though they had no crew experience. The announcement marks a surprising reversal, as Loughlin and Giannulli had defiantly maintained their innocence for more than a year and recently moved to have the charges dismissed. The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud comes with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, while Giannulli will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud. According to the plea agreement, Loughlin will serve two months in prison, and pay a fine of $150,000, followed by two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service, and Giannulli will serve give months in prison and pay a fine of $250,000, followed by two years of supervised released with 250 hours of community service. They are scheduled to enter their guilty pleas on Friday.

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Loughlin isn't the only celebrity parent involved in the scandal. Felicity Huffman was also among the dozens of parents charged in the cheating scandal. Last May, she pleaded guilty to honest services mail fraud and was sentenced to 14 days in jail and fined $30,000. With the Loughlin-Giannulli deal, 24 parents have now pleaded guilty in the college admissions scandal.

“Under the plea agreements filed today, 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," said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling in a statement. "We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions."

Loughlin has been a major fixture of Hallmark Channel through Christmas movies and the Garage Sale Mysteries franchise. The network's corporate parent, Crown Media cut all ties with the actress last year.

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