Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty In College Cheating Scandal
Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have pleaded not guilty in the college admissions scandal, aka Operation Varsity Blues, according to federal court filings.
The actress and her fashion designer husband officially pleaded not guilty for fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges. They have also waived their right to appear before a judge in Boston for arraignment.
The couple are accused of paying $500,000 in order to have daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella appear as rowing team recruits so that they would be guaranteed admission to the University of Southern California (USC).
According to TMZ, the maximum sentence the couple faces is 40 years in prison each with the charges they're currently indicted on, with the minimum being four years and nine months -- even if they reach a plea deal.
According to the website, the U.S. Attorney out of Boston gave all the parents involved in the scam an ultimatum -- including fellow actress Felicity Huffman -- which would see them either accept a plea or the case would go to the Grand Jury and additional charges would be filed.
Felicity Huffman has already copped a plea and will now face a minimum of 4 months in prison. Huffman allegedly paid $15,000 to have her daughter's SAT test fixed, while Loughlin and her husband allegedly paid $500,000 to a coach to get their daughters a spot in college, hence the disparity.
“She probably should have taken the deal, but at the time, she didn’t really realise how serious the charges were,” a source told PEOPLE.
“More than that, I think she and her lawyers underestimated how motivated the prosecution was. So she didn’t plead, and then they hit her with another charge. Now she’s willing to negotiate, but the prosecution says that the deal is off the table. So the only choice they’ve got is to plead not guilty. That’s all they can do.”
TMZ notes that a source has said that a plea deal is still currently on the table.