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Lori Loughlin faces moment of truth in college admissions scandal



Felicity Huffman is now serving time behind bars.

Other high-profile parents in college admissions have pleaded guilty.

But so far, there is no indication from Lori Loughlin and her camp about whether she plans

On Monday, four parents changed their pleas to guilty, and USC announced that Loughlin's children – who prosecutors allege got into the school after cheating by Loughlin and her husband –

"Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli are not currently enrolled," USC said. "We are unable to provide additional information because of student privacy laws."

Loughlin, of TV's "Full House," and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $ 500,000 to have their two daughters denied to USC as crew recruits. Although not a rower, the parents saw being a coxswain as their daughters' ticket into a private college, which has an acceptance rate of 1

3%, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Loughlin and Giannulli pleaded not guilty after their arrests in March.

The couple began discussing the plot with William “Rick” Singer in April 2016 after they met with the college counselor of their older daughter, according to the affidavit.

“I'd like to maybe sit with you after your session with the girls as I have some concerns and want to fully understand the game plan and make sure we have a roadmap for success as it relates to [our daughter] and getting her into a school other than ASU! ”Giannulli allegedly wrote in an email to Singer.

Singer told the couple that their daughter's academic qualifications were "at or just below the low end of USC's admission," according to the affidavit.

At a cost of $ 500,000, prosecutors a llege, the couple tapped what Singer called his “side door” into USC by bribing Donna Heinel, an athletics department official, to design their two daughters as recruited rowers. Heinel has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering. She was fired by USC in March.

Loughlin and Giannulli's payments were funneled through Singer's charity, whose stated mission was to help “underprivileged students,” according to payment documents filed in federal court. The tax-exempt status for Singer's Key Worldwide Foundation allowed some of Singer's clients to write off bribes as charitable gifts on their taxes, authorities said.

USC said say why Loughlin's daughters exited USC. But a university earlier this year launched a review of students tied to the scandal. Officials had earlier said the outcomes of those reviews could range from no action to revocation of a student's admission, depending on the facts of each case.

Federal prosecutors have been ratcheting up pressure on parents who have maintained their innocence in college admissions scandal with a warning they intend to file additional criminal charges as early as this week, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

Earlier this month, Felicity Huffman reported to a federal prison in Northern California where she was spending two weeks behind bars for conspiring to rig her daughter's college entrance exams. The award-winning actress was arrested in March and pleaded guilty two months later to conspiracy fraud, admitting she paid $ 15,000 to Singer to fix her daughter's SAT score.

But legal experts have said Loughlin could face more prison time than Huffman because she is accused of spending far more money in the scheme. And U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani, who has far sentenced 10 parents, has said she views parents who used Singer's athletic recruitment scam as more deserving of prison than parents who used his test-fixing scheme.

In an interview earlier this month on WCVB -TV on Boston, and top federal prosecutor in the case, Andrew Lelling, said the government would like to ask for more prison time for Loughlin.

“Huffman was probably the least culpable of defendants who we've been charged with case, ”he told the station. “She took responsibility almost immediately. She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way. ”

As for Loughlin, he added:“ If she's convicted, I don't think I'm giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence for her than we did for Felicity Huffman. I told you exactly what would be. … Let's say she goes through the trial: If you continue after the trial, I think we are certainly asking for something substantially higher.

On Monday, parents Douglas Hodge, Michelle Janavs and Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors had warned parents that a new indictment, carrying an added charge of the federal bribery program, could be unsealed as soon as this week, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The charge could be leveled at anyone accused of bribing an employee or agent of an organization that receives $ 10,000 or more in funding from the federal government, and who receives something valued at $ 5,000 or more in exchange.


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