The US attorney overseeing the college admissions scandal cases gave Lori Loughlin a public warning that he would ask for a higher sentence for her and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, than he did for Felicity Huffman.
Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said Loughlin and Giannulli should plead guilty for their best chance at a lighter sentence.
"I don't think I'd be giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence than we did for Felicity Huffman," Lelling told Boston station WCVB on Sunday.
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying the college admission scandal's ringleader, William "Rick" Singer $500,000 to guarantee their daughters' admissions to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, despite them not participating in the sport. They have both plead not guilty and face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Felicity Huffman, who paid $15,000 to have her daughter's SAT score falsified, has already pleaded guilty.
Lelling asked the judge to give her a one-month sentence, but Huffman was ordered to spend only 14 days in jail for the crime.
"There's a few things working in her favor. She took responsibility almost immediately. She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a classy way," Lelling said. "And so, at the end of the day, we thought the one-month was proportional."
Lelling told WCVB that the larger amount of money Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying could work against them. Cooperating, he said, would help.
"The longer a case goes — let's say if she goes through to trial — if it's after trial, I think certainly we'd be asking for something substantially higher," the prosecutor said. "If she resolved her case short of trial, something a little lower than that."