After Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty for her role in the college admissions scandal, and served 11 days behind bars, many have been wondering what kind of punishment Lori Loughlin will receive. Their alleged crimes are different: Huffman admitted to spending $15K to pump up her daughter's SATs, while Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli have been accused of shelling out $500K to bribe their daughters' way into the University of Southern California.
And unlike Huffman, Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty, a move many legal experts have deemed risky. In court transcripts obtained by Good Morning America, the judge in the case criticized defendants, saying to at least one that he must "pay a substantial and conspicuous price for such unconscionable conduct."
The 56-year-old real estate exec Toby MacFarlane was subsequently sentenced to six months after pleading guilty to shelling out $450K to grease the wheels at USC for his two kiddos.
Their similar alleged crimes—and Loughlin's refusal to cop a plea—are making some think the Fuller House star will face more time.
"These cases are very similar," says GMA legal analyst Dan Abrams. "It's almost the same amount of money. It's two kids. It's faking the profiles, etc."
"Now this was a guilty plea," Abrams continued. "This was someone who's accepted responsibility for it, and is still getting six months. So you've got to believe if Loughlin were to take it to trial, with the additional charge that's been thrown on her, if she was convicted, she'd be looking at a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if she got 2 to 3 years if she's convicted."
"There's a similarity to the cases," a source close to Loughlin acknowledged to People last week. "And they're smart enough to see that. So they're very concerned. If this guy pleaded guilty and was still given six months, what does that mean for them? If they're convicted, their sentences are going to be very severe. Also, they face more charges than Mr. McFarlane did. They're very discouraged."
They are facing charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud.