Actor Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli have agreed to plead guilty to charges in the US college admissions bribery case and serve time in prison, according to court papers.
The couple 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 $US250,000 ($A379,080).
Loughlin has agreed to serve two months in prison and Giannulli will spend five months. She will pay a $US150,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service, while Giannulli has agreed to pay a $US250,000 fine and do 250 hours of community service.
Prosecutors have agreed to dismiss charges of money laundering and federal programs bribery that were added after the case was filed.
“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,” United States Attorney Andrew Lelling said.
“We will continue to pursue accountability for undermining the integrity of college admissions.”
Loughlin and Giannulli previously pleaded not guilty and firmly insisted on their innocence, even as other parents reached deals with prosecutors.
Among them were former Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, who was the first parent sentenced in the cheating scandal.
She was jailed for 14 days in September 2019 after pleading guilty to paying someone to secretly correct her daughter’s answers on a university entrance exam.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who were accused of paying $US500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport, are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case.
They had previously claimed that investigators had fabricated evidence against them. Their change of heart comes a fortnight after the judge rejected their bid to dismiss the case over allegations of misconduct by federal authorities.
Former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon told the Associated Press that the couple’s lawyers might believe that Loughlin and Giannulli have a chance of serving their sentences at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The outbreak has already delayed the jail sentences of some parents involved in the case, while others have been allowed to go home early.