Lori Loughlin is 'freaking out' over possible jail time in college admissions scandal, source says
When applying for college, children from wealthy families enjoy unfair advantages. They can qualify for legacy admissions, afford to take expensive test prep courses and receive unspoken goodwill from Mommy and Daddy's very generous donation to the university, just to name a few examples. It's not fair, but it's also not against the law.
However, several wealthy parents crossed the line, committing blatant acts of bribery and fraud to ensure their privileged children got into prestigious colleges. The $25 million nationwide scheme was twofold - paying SAT/ACT administrators to inflate student's test scores, and bribing college officials to falsely designate and recruit students as star athletes. In the event the student didn't play the sport, photos were staged or fabricated with Photoshop.
"For every student admitted through fraud an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected," US Attorney Andrew Lelling stated at a news conference.
After concluding their investigation, the US Justice Department charged 50 individuals involved with the scandal, including the scheme's ringleader, Rick Singer, and 33 wealthy parents. The accused parents included prominent, high-ranking business executives and two Hollywood actresses, who quickly became the face of the scandal: Felicity Huffman, aka Lynette Scavo from Desperate Housewives, and Lori Loughlin, aka Aunt Becky from Full House.
Huffman, who was accused of spending $15,000 to inflate her daughter's SAT score, was among the 13 parents who agreed on Monday to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
"I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community," Huffman said in a statement. "I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly."
Meanwhile, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of spending $500,000 to get their two daughters into USC as athletic recruits on the crew team, although neither girl participated in the sport. The two were among the 16 parents who did not say they will plead guilty, and were served with additional charges of money laundering by federal prosecutors. Combined with the previous charges, they each face up to 40 years in prison.
A source close to Loughlin told E! News, "She has been in complete denial and thought maybe she could skate by. She refused to accept any jail time and thought the DA was bluffing. She was adamant she wouldn't do any jail time." However, after the additional federal charges, the 54-year-old actress reportedly changed her tune. "Lori is finally realizing just how serious this is," said the insider. "She is seeing the light that she will do jail time and is freaking out."
"Lori and Mossimo are finding out quickly who their real friends are," another confidante told People. "It's not like they are the victims of a crime. They are the crime. Many of their friends don't want to be associated with them right now." Meanwhile, a source on the “Hot Hollywood” podcast told US Weekly, "Lori’s castmates on Fuller House really thought she wasn’t going to have to serve prison time. They thought she was going to have to do something, but not go to prison. But that was before the addition of these most recent charges."
Time will tell how much prison time, if any, Loughlin and company will serve. However, the Fuller House star is already experiencing consequences for her actions. In wake of the scandal, The Hallmark Channel cut all ties with Loughlin, and Sephora canceled their partnership with her youngest daughter, beauty vlogger an "influencer," Olivia Jade Giannulli, who voiced her disinterest in academics in a YouTube video.
It is not known which children, if any, were aware of their parents' actions. But in the meantime, USC has put all students tied to the scheme, including Loughlin's daughters, on academic hold. (Much to Olivia Jade's delight, I presume.)