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Actress Lori Loughlin begins prison term for US college admissions scam

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Actress Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli, shown here in August 2019, switched their previous pleas of innocence to guilty in a bid to lighten their sentences for conspiracy to commit fraud Joseph Prezioso AFP/File

American actress Lori Loughlin began her two-month prison term in California Friday after admitting to conspiracy to commit fraud as part of her role in a sprawling college admissions scandal.

Loughlin — best known for playing Aunt Becky in the 1980s-90s hit sitcom “Full House” — reported to a low-security federal camp in Dublin, some 30 miles east of San Francisco.

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She and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among some 50 people indicted over an elaborate scam to secure spots for already privileged children at prestigious US universities.

Actress Felicity Huffman of “Desperate Housewives” fame was released last October from the same prison, after serving 11 days of a two-week sentence for her role in the scam.

Loughlin, 56, had been ordered to surrender to the US Bureau of Prisons before November 19. She also faces two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

She and her husband were sentenced by a federal judge in August.

The pair admitted to paying $500,000 to gain admission for their two daughters at the University of Southern California as recruits to the rowing crew team — a sport neither had ever trained in.

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Giannulli, 57, described in the prosecutors’ sentencing memo as the more active participant of the duo, is due to serve five months, pay a $250,000 fine and do 250 hours of community service.

Loughlin, among the most high-profile personalities indicted in the wide-reaching case, initially denied any guilt for more than a year, but apologized for her part prior to sentencing.

“I’m ready to face the consequences and make amends,” she said.

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In admitting guilt, the pair were spared from potentially much stiffer sentences: their original charges carried penalties of up to 45 years in prison.

Some 55 people have been charged in the scandal. Most of the 41 who have pleaded guilty received punishments of less than a few months behind bars.

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Huffman had admitted during a tearful court appearance to paying $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT college entrance exam score.

The ringleader behind the college admissions scam, William “Rick” Singer, who authorities say was paid about $25 million to bribe coaches and university administrators, has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, expected sometime next year.

© 2020 AFP


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