Here's why Lori Loughlin will likely spend 2 months in prison for the college admissions scandal while Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days

AP PhotoLori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are among dozens of people indicted in a sweeping college-admissions bribery scandal.

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the dozens of people charged in the college-admissions scandal, in which parents are accused of paying up to $US6 million to guarantee their children spots at elite universities.

While both women have now pleaded guilty in the case, their sentencings will be different. The difference comes down to two major factors: Huffman and Loughlin faced different charges in the case, and used two different schemes in Operation Varsity Blues, in which they paid the ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, different amounts of money.

Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, agreed to plead guilty on Thursday, admitting to paying $US500,000 to guarantee their daughters’ admissions into the University of Southern California as crew recruits. They had initially pleaded not guilty and would have faced up to 50 years in prison if they took the case to trial.

Huffman, who pleaded guilty last year, was sentenced in September to 14 days in prison, fined $US30,000, and ordered to do 250 hours of community service. She was released after 11 days and will be on supervised release for a year.

Prosecutors say the actors invested vastly different amounts of money in the scheme – $US15,000 for Huffman and $US500,000 for Loughlin – which is likely why Loughlin’s sentence will be longer.

Huffman disguised her bribe as a charitable donation for disadvantaged youth

Huffman paid the scheme’s ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, $US15,000 to have her eldest daughter’s SAT score falsified so she could get into top colleges.

An affidavit said that Huffman arranged for her daughter to take the SAT at the West Hollywood Test Centre, where her answers were later corrected, and that Huffman disguised the $US15,000 as a charitable donation for disadvantaged young people.

The court document said Huffman had also arranged for her youngest daughter to be part of the scheme but later decided against it.


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Felicity Huffman has been sentenced to 14 days in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal

In April 2019, shortly after being indicted, Huffman agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud. In May 2019, she appeared in court to enter her guilty plea.

“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the educational community,”Huffman said in a statement in April. “I want to apologise to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”

Prosecutors initially recommended four months in prison for Huffman’s sentence but later lowered that to 30 days. Huffman had asked for a year of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a $US20,000 fine instead.

Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty

Prosecutors say Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid Singer $US500,000 to guarantee their daughters, Isabella and Olivia, would be admitted into the University of Southern California.

The affidavit said Giannulli and Loughlin used bribes to facilitate Isabella’s admission to USC by having her pose as a recruited crew coxswain, though she had never participated in the sport. As part of the scheme, Giannulli sent Singer a photo of Isabella on a rowing machine. Giannulli and Loughlin repeated the scheme for Olivia, the court document said.

Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud, and they were among several parents later charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery.

The couple spent a year arguing in court that they were not guilty, and Loughlin’s legal team tried a number of strategies calling for the case to be dismissed, including arguing that she and Giannulli thought their $US500,000 payment was a legitimate donation to USC, and saying FBI agents tried to coerce Singer into lying and concealing evidence that would bolster parents’ claims of innocence.

On Thursday Loughlin agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and Giannulli agreed to guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts.

If the court approves their pleas, Loughlin will spend two months in prison, pay a $US150,000 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release. Giannulli will serve five months in prison, pay a $US250,000 fine, do 250 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release.

Just weeks before their plea, they participated in a concerted push for the charges to be dropped.

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