BOSTON (Reuters) – Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, actress Lori Loughlin’s husband, was sentenced on Friday to five months in prison for participating in a U.S. college admissions scam, hours before his wife is set to learn her own punishment.
Giannulli, 57, was sentenced by a federal judge in Boston after he and the “Full House” star admitted that they engaged in a fraud scheme aimed at securing spots for their daughters at the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits.
The prison sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton was consistent with the terms of the plea deal Giannulli struck in May. Gorton also ordered Giannulli to pay a $250,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service.
Gorton said Giannulli “knew better,” yet due to his “hubris” took part in a blatant scheme that saw wealthy parents conspiring with a California college admissions consultant to use bribery and fraud to secure their children’s admissions to top schools.
“You were not stealing bread to feed your family,” Gorton told Giannulli during a hearing held through a Zoom video conference due to coronavirus concerns. “You have no excuse for your crime.”
Giannulli told Gorton that he deeply regretted the harm caused by his actions. “I take full responsibility for my conduct,” he said.
Loughlin, 56, will be sentenced later on Friday under a plea deal that calls for two months in prison, a $150,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service.
The two are among 55 people charged in a scheme masterminded by consultant William “Rick” Singer, who has admitted to facilitating cheating on college entrance exams and using bribery to secure the admission of children to schools as fake athletic recruits.
Prosecutors said Loughlin and Giannulli conspired with Singer to fabricate parts of their daughters’ applications for admission to USC so they could be admitted as fake rowing team recruits.
Prosecutors said Giannulli, the “more active” parent in the scheme, also paid $500,000 in purported “donations” as a quid pro quo to induce a USC employee to facilitate the recruitment of daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli.
“This kind of behavior is not just overzealous parenting,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Kearney said during Giannulli’s sentencing. “It is criminal and deserving of the proposed five-month sentence.”
Defense lawyer Sean Berkowitz said Giannulli, who never attended college, ignored “red flags” about Singer, who he turned to for advice in navigating the admissions process, believing he was not a “felon, a huckster or fraud.”
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Rosalba O’Brien
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