BOSTON (CBS) — Lori Loughlin wiped away tears and said she was “deeply sorry” for her role in the college admissions scam before a federal judge in Boston sentenced her to serve two months in prison on Friday. Earlier in the day the same judge sentenced her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli to five months in prison for his role in the bribery scandal.
Their decision to plead guilty to conspiracy charges for paying $500,000 to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits came in late May, shortly after the judge rejected their bid to dismiss the case.
Loughlin’s plea deal that the judge accepted calls for two months in prison, a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. The couple could have faced 20 years in prison under the conspiracy charges.
“I made an awful decision,” the “Full House” star said, speaking to the judge via Zoom video conference. “I am truly, profoundly and deeply sorry. I am ready to face the consequences and make amends.”
Loughlin said she thought she was acting “out of love” for her daughters.
“I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process,” she said. “In doing so, I ignored my intuition and allowed myself to be swayed from my moral compass.”
Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he indeed hopes Loughlin spends the rest of her “charmed life” making amends after participating in the “corruption of the system of higher education in this country.”
“Here you are an admired, successful, professional actor with a long-lasting marriage, two apparently healthy, resilient children, more money than you could possibly need, a beautiful home in sunny Southern California – a fairy tale life,” he said. “Yet you stand before me a convicted felon. And for what? For the inexplicable desire to grasp even more.”
The couple is expected to report to prison by Nov. 19, the judge said.
The plea deal for Giannulli, which called for five months in prison, two years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and 250 hours of community service “is sufficient but not greater than necessary punishment under the circumstances,” a judge said.
“I deeply regret the harm that my actions have caused my daughters, my wife, and others,” Giannulli said. “I take full responsibility for my conduct.”
Giannulli’s lawyer said his client “regrets deeply bringing his wife into the scheme” and “sits here today humbled,” accepting the punishment for his “out-of-character” choices.
“Moss’s top priority was, is, and always will be his children,” his lawyer said.
Before sentencing, Judge Gorton described Giannulli’s actions as “a crime motivated by hubris.”
“You certainly did know better and yet you helped sponsor a breathtaking fraud on our system of education, and involved your wife and your two daughters in cheating and faking their ways into a prestigious university,” Gorton said. “You have no excuse for your crime.”
Giannulli was called “the more active participant in the scheme,” by prosecutors in a memo filed on Monday urging the judge to accept the deals.
WBZ legal analyst Jennifer Roman said the couple was smart to make the plea deal. “They were facing significant time in a federal prison if they were convicted at trial and at that point if convicted after trial they would have lost all ability to effectively manage what their sentence would look like,” Roman said.
They were the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case. Actress Felicity Huffman was also charged in the scandal. She was sentenced to two weeks behind bars for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s entrance exam score.