Lori Loughlin was sentenced Friday to two months in federal prison for her role in paying bribes to get her daughters into the University of Southern California.
Loughlin pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. The sentence was agreed as part of her plea deal. Loughlin also was ordered to pay a $150,000 fine and serve two years of supervised release, and perform 100 hours of community service.
Judge Nathaniel Gorton admonished Loughlin for corrupting the higher education system, and noted she had lived a “fairytale life.”
“Yet you stand before me a convicted felon. For what?” he asked. “For the inexplicable desire to grab for more.”
Loughlin was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons by Nov. 21. Loughlin’s attorney asked that she be allowed to serve the sentence at the federal facility in Victorville, Calif.
Addressing the court via Zoom, Loughlin expressed remorse for her actions, saying she had been “swayed from my moral compass.”
“I thought I was acting out of love for my children, but in reality it only undermined and diminished my daughters’ accomplishments,” she said. She also acknowledged that she had exacerbated inequalities in the higher education system.
“That realization weighs heavily on me,” she said. “I wish I could go back and do things differently. I have great faith in God, and I believe in redemption and I will do everything in my power to redeem myself.”
Earlier on Friday, Loughlin’s husband Mossimo Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison. Prosecutors had alleged that Giannulli took a more active role in the scheme, though both parents were complicit.
William Trach, Loughlin’s attorney, argued that she has suffered severe consequences already, including the loss of her acting jobs and a cosmetics endorsement deal. Trach also said that she had been hounded by paparazzi, and her children had been subjected to bullying. Trach also said the daughters had been forced to drop out of USC.
Trach also said that Loughlin was a “passive participant” in the scheme.
“Of all the parents charged in this broad investigation, not a single one had less active participation in this scheme,” he said.
Justin O’Connell, an assistant U.S. attorney, argued the two-month sentence was necessary to send the message that “everyone, no matter your status, is accountable in our justice system.”
O’Connell noted that Loughlin had referred to her daughter’s high school counselor as a “weasel” who might interfere with the scheme.
Loughlin and Giannulli paid $500,000 via consultant Rick Singer to get their daughters into the school. Singer was the central figure in the wide-ranging admissions scam, which ensnared athletic officials at elite universities, coaches, test proctors, and dozens of parents.
Loughlin and Giannulli initially fought the charges, with their attorneys arguing that they believed the payment was a legitimate contribution. Gorton denied the defense’s motion to throw out the case earlier this year.