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Loughlin, Giannulli Plead Guilty In College Admission Scandal; Will Serve Prison Sentences

BOSTON (CBS SF/AP) -- Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to plead guilty to charges in the college admissions bribery case and serve time in prison.

According court papers filed Thursday, the couple has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in a plea agreement filed in Boston's federal court. The charge carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

RELATED: Read Lori Loughlin's Plea Agreement

Under the terms of Loughlin's plea agreement, court documents revealed that subject to the judge's approval, the actress will serve two months in prison, pay a $150,000 fine and complete two years of supervised release with 100 hours of community service.

Under the terms of Giannulli's plea agreement, court documents revealed that subject to the judge's approval, the designer will serve five months in prison, pay a $250,000 fine and complete two years of supervised release with 250 hours of community service.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport.

"Under the plea agreements filed today, these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process and which are consistent with prior sentences in this case," said United States Attorney Andrew Lelling. "We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions."

The scandal has swept up several prominent San Francisco Bay Area residents. On March 31, Elizabeth Henriquez was sentenced to seven months in prison for paying bribes to rig her two daughters' college admissions exams and get one of them into Georgetown University as a fake tennis recruit.

In an unusual hearing held via videoconference due to the coronavirus pandemic, the judge rejected Henriquez's bid to avoid prison because of the public health crisis but is allowing her to remain free until at least June 30 in the hopes that the outbreak will have diminished by then.

"I have every hope that the coronavirus crisis will abate in a matter of months and that Ms. Henriquez will be able to serve her sentence safely and rebuild her life," U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said.

Henriquez and her husband, both from Atherton, were charged with paying $400,000 in bribes to get their oldest daughter into Georgetown as a bogus tennis recruit in 2016. They also paid bribes to have someone cheat on their daughters' college entrance exams, authorities said.

Manuel Henriquez, Elizabeth Henriquez
Manuel Henriquez arrives at federal court in Boston on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, to face charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Manuel Henriquez was originally scheduled to be sentenced April 8. His sentencing date, however, has since been pushed to June 10. Henriquez had been charged with the same crimes as his wife, though prosecutors are seeking a 18-month sentence with his case.

Her lawyers had urged the judge to give her home confinement, citing a memo written by Attorney General William Barr who said some nonviolent inmates who are particularly at risk to the virus may be safer at home than behind bars.

"I feel so ashamed and I promise to spend the rest of my life trying to repair the harm caused by my immoral actions," Henriquez told the judge.

Henriquez was sentenced via videoconference to keep people from gathering at the federal courthouse in Boston amid the pandemic. The judge talked to Henriquez and lawyers over video chat while news media and other members of the public listened on the phone.

She is among nearly two dozen prominent parents who have pleaded guilty in a case dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues."

Others who have admitted to charges include "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison at a facility in Dublin for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter's entrance exam.

Another Bay Area parent found guilty in the scandal, Agustin Hunneus Jr., was sentenced to five months in prison, but was released to home confinement due to "unique health circumstances" amid the pandemic.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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