- Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison in August for her role in the college admissions scandal. She reported to a low-security federal facility in Dublin, California, on Friday.
- Felicity Huffman, meanwhile, was sentenced to just 14 days in prison in September for her role in the scheme.
- Huffman paid $US15,000 to the scheme’s ringleader, Rick Singer, to have someone cheat on a college-entrance exam for her eldest daughter.
- Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid Singer $US500,000 to guarantee her daughters’ admission to the University of Southern California.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the dozens of people who were 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 pleaded guilty in the case, their sentencings are vastly different, with Loughlin’s six weeks longer than Huffman’s.
The difference comes down to one major factor: Huffman and Loughlin used two different schemes in Operation Varsity Blues, in which they paid the ringleader, William “Rick” Singer, different amounts of money â€” $US15,000 for Huffman and $US500,000 for Loughlin.
Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded guilty in May, admitting to paying $US500,000 to guarantee their daughters’ admissions into the University of Southern California as crew recruits, despite never competing in the sport.
They were sentenced in August â€” Loughlin to two months behind bars and Giannulli to five months. Loughlin was ordered to pay a $US150,000 fine, do 100 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release, while Giannulli was ordered to pay a $US250,000 fine, do 250 hours of community service, and spend two years on supervised release.
Huffman, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to last year to paying $US15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT answers falsified. She 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.
Here’s why their sentences were so different.
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.
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 spent more than a year fighting charges
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 more than 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.
In May, 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.
Just weeks before their plea, they participated in a concerted push for the charges to be dropped.
Loughlin reported to a low-security federal facility in Dublin, California, on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
- Read more:
- Prosecutors reportedly plan to seek a 10-month jail sentence for Felicity Huffman for her role in the college-admissions scandal
- Lori Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty in the college-admissions scandal
- Lori Loughlin believes she did what any mother would have done in the college-admissions scandal, report says
- Lori Loughlin and her husband are among 16 parents facing new charges of money laundering in the college-admissions scandal
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.