Actress Lori Loughlin, known for playing Aunt Becky on Full House, pleaded not guilty to federal charges against her on Monday. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college entrance bribery scandal. The couple is currently free on bail, with Loughlin’s being set at $1 million.
Loughlin and Giannulli are among the most high-profile defendants in the massive scheme. Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives was also implicated, along with several other wealthy perpetrators. Huffman is said to be pleading guilty next month to charges related to paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT results.
Ms. Loughlin and her husband are accused of bribing the University of Southern California women’s rowing coach with $500,000 to recruit their daughters, even though they were not athletes. The couple is facing harsher punishments than many of the other defendants due to the extent of money involved in their crimes. Additionally, the “Full House” star was dropped from the Hallmark Channel and the Netflix Original series, Fuller House.
Loughlin could face up to five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Criminal defense attorney Joseph B. Simons commented on the possibility of prison time for the actress.
“It seems unlikely at this point that Ms. Loughlin can avoid federal prison. That said, perhaps her attorneys can be creative with suggestions for huge fines, community service, strict probation and/or home confinement.”