Ac­tress, hus­band plead guilty in col­lege scam

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Alanna Durkin Richer Alanna Durkin Richer is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

“Full House” star Lori Lough­lin and her fash­ion de­signer hus­band, Mos­simo Gian­nulli, pleaded guilty Fri­day to pay­ing half a mil­lion dol­lars to get their two daugh­ters into the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia as part of a col­lege ad­mis­sions bribery scheme, but a judge has not de­cided whether he’ll ac­cept the deals they made with pros­e­cu­tors.

The cou­ple ap­peared on sep­a­rate screens dur­ing their video hear­ing, both sit­ting with a lawyer, show­ing no emo­tion as the pros­e­cu­tor de­tailed their crimes and mak­ing no com­ments other than to an­swer ques­tions from U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gor­ton.

Un­der their pro­posed deals, Lough­lin, 55, would serve two months in prison and Gian­nulli, 56, would spend five months.

But the judge said he will de­cide whether to ac­cept the deals af­ter con­sid­er­ing the pre­sen­tenc­ing re­port, a doc­u­ment that con­tains back­ground on de­fen­dants and helps guide sen­tenc­ing de­ci­sions. Gor­ton sched­uled their sen­tenc­ing hear­ings for Aug. 21.

Lough­lin and Gian­nulli were among dozens of wealthy par­ents, ath­letic coaches and oth­ers charged last year in the bribery scheme. The par­ents paid hefty bribes to get their kids into top uni­ver­si­ties with bo­gus test scores or fake ath­letic cre­den­tials, au­thor­i­ties said.

The cou­ple have been sched­uled to go to trial in Oc­to­ber on charges that they got their two daugh­ters into USC as crew re­cruits, even though nei­ther girl was a rower. Pros­e­cu­tors say they fun­neled money through a sham char­ity op­er­ated by col­lege ad­mis­sions con­sul­tant Rick Singer, who has pleaded guilty to or­ches­trat­ing the scheme.

Lough­lin has also agreed to pay a $150,000 fine and per­form 100 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice. Gian­nulli has agreed to pay a $250,000 fine and per­form 250 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

Lough­lin pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to com­mit wire and mail fraud. Gian­nulli pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to com­mit wire and mail fraud and hon­est ser­vices wire and mail fraud. Pros­e­cu­tors agreed to dis­miss charges of money laun­der­ing and fed­eral pro­grams bribery that were added af­ter the case was filed.

Lough­lin and Gian­nulli in­sisted for over a year that they were in­no­cent and that they be­lieved their pay­ments were le­git­i­mate do­na­tions to the school or Singer’s char­ity.

They ac­cused pros­e­cu­tors of with­hold­ing ev­i­dence that would ex­on­er­ate them and claimed in­ves­ti­ga­tors had sought to trick par­ents into in­crim­i­nat­ing them­selves. The judge this month re­jected the de­fense’s bid to dis­miss the case over al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct by fed­eral agents.

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