The latest chapter played out this week in a saga that has largely been overshadowed by the coronavirus, election-year politics, and the other major news events of 2020.
Actress Lori Loughlin, who was implicated in a widespread scheme among wealthy parents to fraudulently secure their children’s acceptance at prestigious universities, was sentenced to serve two months behind bars, as reported by Politico.
Prison time and hefty fines
Along with her husband, Loughlin was accused of paying a $500,000 bribe and authorizing the use of falsified athletic documents in order to get her daughter into the University of Southern California.
She pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and faced sentencing this week.
Her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was also present in court for sentencing on Friday. He received a five-month prison sentence along with a $250,000 fine, two years of supervised release, and 250 hours of community service.
Loughlin, known for her starring role in the sitcom Full House, will have to pay a $150,000 fine, complete two years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service in addition to the prison term.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled that both Loughlin and Giannulli are to report to prison on Nov. 19.
“An awful decision”
The judge chastised Loughlin for living a “fairy tale life” and still participating in the blatant corruption for which she pleaded guilty so she could “have whatever prestige and instant gratification that comes from being able to show off the admission of your daughters to a preferred university.”
Loughlin, who has refrained from public comment throughout the scandal, addressed the court in a tearful statement of regret.
“I made an awful decision,” she said. “I went along with a plan to give my daughters an unfair advantage in the college admissions process. I now understand that my decision helped exacerbate existing inequalities in society generally and the higher education system more specifically.”
Dozens of parents were also caught up in the fraud — and Loughlin was not the only celebrity charged. Actress Felicity Huffman accepted a plea deal and served 11 days of a two-week sentence in October.
While there is plenty of debate regarding whether justice was fully served through the sentences handed down in these cases, a string of criminal convictions among America’s elite shows that no one is above the law.