Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are sticking to their story.
According to CNN, the couple has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in federal court.
Prosecutors claim she and hubby Giannulli paid $500,000 to a fake charity in order to get their two daughters accepted into the University of Southern California, falsely designating them as crew recruits.
The couple was also charged with facilitating cheating on the SATs and ACTs on behalf of their children, and some parents bribed college coaches to smooth their children’s path into college.
Loughlin’s not-guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering is her first substantive response in the case. And not unexpected. Both Loughlin and her husband have remained silent since they were first charged.
The actress is the highest-profile figure, along with Desperate Housewives’ Felicity Huffman, caught up in a scandal that has embroiled dozens of wealthy parents, college coaches and standardized test administrators.
Huffman, who pleaded guilty along with 13 other parents will most likely receive prison time at the “low end” of the sentencing range and will not bring further charges against her.
But those who did not plead guilty, including Loughlin and 15 other parents, were charged a day later with a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Legal experts said this is part of the prosecution’s “carrot and stick” approach intended to pressure defendants to plead guilty or face further charges.
The criminal complaint against Giannulli and Loughlin includes evidence from a cooperating witness, emails, bank records and a recorded phone call with each parent.
Giannulli even allegedly sent Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, an “action picture” of each of his daughters on ergometers, the rowing machines, according to the criminal complaint.
The accusations have stalled the careers of Loughlin and her daughter Olivia Jade, a social media influencer. Loughlin was dropped by the Hallmark Channel and other brands in the wake of last month’s charges, and Sephora also ended a makeup partnership with Olivia Jade.
Hallmark just announced When the Heart Calls has been renewed without Loughlin.
If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison for each charge. And on the next episode of Fool House…