Lori Loughlin could now face up to 40 years in jail after new charges, report says
Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, two of the 16 parents indicted on fraud and money laundering charges in the college admissions cheating scandal, could face up to 40 years in prison—a maximum of 20 years for each of the charges, a report said.
The "Fuller House" star and her husband, along with 14 other parents, are being charged with a "second superseding indictment with conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering," the Department of Justice revealed in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday.
Last month, Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. They allegedly paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, even though the young women did not play the sport.
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"The second superseding indictment also charges the defendants with conspiring to launder the bribes and other payments in furtherance of the fraud by funneling them through Singer’s purported charity and his for-profit corporation, as well as by transferring money into the United States, from outside the United States, for the purpose of promoting the fraud scheme," the statement added.
The two charges the parents now face—conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering—each carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, along with a combined fine of $750,000, according to the New York Daily News.
William 'Rick' Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif. is the alleged mastermind behind the college admissions scam. He allegedly orchestrated the payments to coaches and admissions officials and bribed SAT and ACT administrators to let others take the test for the students or correct their answers.
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With the new money laundering charges, Loughlin and Giannulli are facing even more potential jail time, according to a defense attorney — who is not involved with the case. Neither Loughlin nor Giannulli has addressed the scandal publicly or made a statement through their attorneys.
"They are both looking at additional time that could potentially go as high as an additional 2-3 years," California-based criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian told Fox News. "We were all expecting that the prosecution had additional charges in their bag of tricks. This prosecution team is playing it rough, mounting pressure on the parents to push them to fold."
"If Loughlin and her husband cooperate and the [information] they have to have to offer [the prosecution] is something of interest and it's useful, then the prosecutors could recommend probation, no jail time, or electronic monitoring," she added.
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But in the worst case scenario, the couple could be facing up to 20 years in federal prison, Yeretsian explained.
Fox News' own Judge Andrew Napolitano confirmed that each is facing up to 20 years behind bars. “These indictments today show that the feds are playing hardball. Those who failed to plead guilty to one count yesterday have now been indicted on numerous counts. These new indictments expand the now-indicted defendants' jail time exposure dramatically," he added.
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Criminal defense attorney and a former public defender in Los Angeles, Silva Megerditchian, who isn't part of Loughlin and Mossimo's legal team also weighed in on the possible jail and agreed about the 20-year max sentence.
Megerditchian said that because of the publicity of this case, the prosecution is not going to let the 16 indicted on secondary charges settle without serving some sort of time. In her opinion, Loughlin and Giannulli's defense attorneys are going be using any type of charitable or humanitarian work to help them get less time.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she got between 5-10 years of federal prison because of the amount of negative publicity in this case," she added. "But it's impossible to know the exact number at this point in time. If they cooperate fully, it could go lower. It will depend on how deep Loughlin and Giannulli were involved in the scheme and what time of insider information they reveal."
For fellow actress Felicity Huffman's part, Megerditchian says that the "Desperate Housewives" star's admissions of guilt helped her because prosecutors favor those who cooperate.
Her minimum sentence would be "about 4 months," but that could be pleaded down to probation or house arrest, Megerditchian said of the actress, who announced her decision to plead guilty on Monday.
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A new arraignment date for the couple had not yet been set.
Loughlin and Giannulli's lawyers did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment.