From “Full House” to the big house?
Disgraced actress Lori Loughlin, one of dozens of parents charged in the college admissions bribery scandal, could face a stiff sentence if she goes to trial and is convicted, the federal prosecutor in charge of the case warned this week.
“I can’t tell you what that would be, but the longer the case goes... I think certainly we would ask for something substantially higher,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling told Boston’s ABC affiliate WCVB in an interview Sunday.
His remarks come weeks after another actress, Felicity Huffman, became the first parent sentenced in the “Varsity Blues” case, which has been described as the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted. Huffman, known for her role on “Desperate Housewives,” was given a measly 14-day sentence and 250 hours of community service after she admitted to paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct answers on her daughter’s SAT exam.
Loughlin, known as Aunt Becky on ABC’s “Full House” and the Netflix spinoff “Fuller House,” is accused of conspiring with scheme mastermind William “Rick” Singer to pay $500,000 to get her daughters into college as rowing team recruits despite them having no experience in the sport. She and her co-defendant husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty.
Lelling, who’s prosecuting the case in Boston, described Huffman as one of “the least culpable” of the defendants partly because of the size of her bribe. His team had asked the judge to give her one month behind bars, but he said the two-week sentence was “reasonable.”
“She took responsibility almost immediately,” Lelling told the station. “She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way and at the end of the day, we thought the one-month was proportional.”
The prosecutor also said Huffman’s sentence should send “a clear message” to the parents who have not pleaded guilty.
“If you’re convicted of the offense, you’re going to go to prison,” he said, “because the least culpable defendant, who took responsibility right away, even she got prison for some period of time.”
The next court appearance for Loughlin’s defense team is scheduled for Jan. 17.