In March 2019, actress Lori Loughlin was charged in connection with the biggest college admissions scandal in American history. Also charged in the landmark case were Loughlin's fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, fellow actress Felicity Huffman, and scores of other wealthy and influential celebrities, college officials, and athletic coaches. The defendants are accused of paying elite colleges and universities to secure their children's acceptance.
The federal case alleges the defendants either arranged for someone to cheat on their children's ACTs or SATs, or they approached athletic coaches to accept their children onto the university's sports teams - even if their children didn't play the sport. These children, who include Loughlin's social media influencer daughter, Olivia Jade, have not been named in the case, though the young woman has lost lucrative endorsement deals.
The fact that the rich and powerful use their money and privilege to buy advantages and curry favor has come as a surprise to virtually no one. What is surprising, however, are the celebrities involved in the scandal. Loughlin, of Fuller House and Hallmark Channel fame, as well as Huffman, a respected Emmy-winner and Oscar nominee, are not exactly the first people that come to mind when one thinks of nefarious deeds. Regardless, they have been charged for their unlawful actions.
- Photo: When Calls The Heart / Hallmark
May 21, 2020: Lori Loughlin And Mossimo Giannulli Agree To Plead Guilty
According to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in the District of Massachusetts on May 21, 2020, one year after the scandal broke:
Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with securing the fraudulent admission of their two children to the University of Southern California as purported athletic recruits.
The conditions of Loughlin’s plea will require her to spend two months in prison, pay a fine of $150,000, and spend two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service. The conditions of Giannulli’s plea will require him to spend five months in prison, pay a fine of $250,000, and spend two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.
Loughlin will plead guilty to "one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud"; and Giannulli will plead guilty to "one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and honest services wire and mail fraud."
August, 22, 2019: A Source Says Lori Loughlin Didn't Know Her Actions Were Wrong
A "legal sources" told People magazine Lori Loughlin pleaded "not guilty" in the college admissions scandal because she "didn’t think what she was doing was any different than donating money for a library or athletic field." In other words, she didn't realize her actions were harmful to other students applying to the university and their families.
The same source says she is "remorseful, and she has definite regrets."
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, will face a judge on August 27 to waive their rights to separate attorneys in an attempt to maintain a "united front."
May 8, 2019: Annapurna Television Announces It Will Adapt The Scandal Into A TV Series
Early in May 2019, just two months after news broke about the largest college admission scandal in recent years Annapurna, Television announced it has optioned the rights to Melissa Korn and Jen Levitz's book about the incident, Accepted, to be published by Penguin Random House's Portfolio division.
The small-screen version will be produced on behalf of Annapurna Television by Sue Naegle, Ali Krug, and Patrick Chu. D.V. DeVincentis will write the screenplay for the limited series. There is no information about who will star or how the show will be developed.
April 15, 2019: Lori Loughlin Pleads Not Guilty
On April 15, 2019, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli gave their first substantial response to two federal charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud by pleading not guilty on both counts.
After Felicity Huffman and a handful of other high-profile parents plead guilty on April 8, the remaining offenders were indicted with an additional charge of money laundering.
Loughlin and Giannulli's plea could have substantial repercussions including a 20-year sentence on each count. Evidence against the couple includes "a cooperating witness, emails, bank records, and a recorded phone call with each parent," according to CNN.