Missouri residents who have been following the recent college admissions scandal may be aware that actress Lori Loughlin was charged with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly paying a college counselor to fabricate athletic credentials for her two daughters. About $500,000 is said to have changed hands, and the goal of the scheme was to secure the girls’ admission to the University of Southern California by portraying them as accomplished rowers.
Loughlin’s lawyers recently accused U.S. attorneys of prosecutorial misconduct and filed a motion to have the case dismissed, but their arguments failed to convince the judge. This setback prompted the “Full House” star to reconsider her position and enter into a plea agreement with U.S. attorneys. On May 22, Loughlin pleaded guilty to a lone count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud during proceedings that were conducted using online communications equipment because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The plea deal Loughlin accepted will see her spend two months behind bars in a federal detention facility. When she is released from custody, the actress will spend a further two years on supervised release and perform community service for 100 hours. She has also agreed to pay a $150,000 fine. If she had been found guilty by a jury, Loughlin could have been sent to prison for as long as 20 years.
The terms of this plea agreement reveal how much the penalties in federal
white-collar crime proceedings are sometimes reduced when defendants agree to forego a jury trial and plead guilty. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to secure the best terms possible during plea negotiations by pointing out mitigating factors that paint a more favorable picture of their client. Attorneys could mention their client’s genuine regret and their commitment to remain on the right side of the law in the future.