Federal prosecutors on Monday asked a federal judge to sentence Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli to two and five months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the college admissions scandal investigators have dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”
In the sentencing recommendation filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, prosecutors said Giannulli was “the more active participant in the scheme” to get their two daughters accepted into the University of Southern California, but maintained that Loughlin was “nonetheless fully complicit.”
“As between the defendants, the evidence suggests that Giannulli was the more active participant in the scheme. He engaged more frequently with [William “Rick”] Singer, directed the bribe payments to USC and Singer, and personally confronted his daughter’s high school counselor to prevent the scheme from being discovered, brazenly lying about his daughter’s athletic abilities,” the memo stated.
According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Loughlin and Giannulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the [University of Southern California (USC)] crew team–despite the fact that they did not participate in crew–thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
The original criminal complaint describes the scheme in detail:
In an e-mail on or about July 24, 2016, Singer advised Giannulli that his older daughter’ s academic qualifications were at or just below the “low end” of USC’s admission standards. Thereafter, the Giannullis agreed with [Singer] to use bribes to facilitate her admission to USC as a recruited crew coxswain, even though she did not row competitively or otherwise participate in crew.
College rowing is a competitive NCAA sport in which a crew rows a boat called a racing shell using oars–attempting to beat other teams. A coxswain is the person in charge of navigating and coordinating the rowers–effectively a multi-person team’s coach.
“Loughlin took a less active role, but was nonetheless fully complicit, eagerly enlisting Singer a second time for her younger daughter, and coaching her daughter not to ‘say too much’ to her high school’s legitimate college counselor, lest he catch on to their fraud,” the memo said.
The memo also emphasized that the couple’s conspiring with Singer implicated their children in the unlawful scheme.
“The crime Giannulli and Loughlin committed was serious. Over the course of two years, they engaged twice in Singer’s fraudulent scheme,” prosecutors argued. “They involved both their daughters in the fraud, directing them to pose in staged photographs for use in fake athletic profiles and instructing one daughter how to conceal the scheme from her high school counselor.”
The famous mother and father spent months attempting to have the charges against them dismissed–using a variety of tactics that ultimately failed to convince the judge overseeing their case.
Both Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and to honest services wire and mail fraud. Under the plea agreement, authorities are also seeking a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service for Loughlin, and a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service for Giannulli.
The prison time recommendations in the memo are what was agreed upon. Now the ball is in Judge Nathaniel Gorton’s court.
Read the full sentencing recommendation below:
[Image via Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images]
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