It looks like Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli made a massive mistake in failing to accept plea deals offered to them.
The two were hit with additional charges Tuesday in their college admissions scandal and are now facing additional time in prison. And according to a report from People Magazine, it’s all because they rejected a plea deal because they don’t understand the seriousness of the charges against them.
Had the couple accepted the plea deal that more than a dozen other parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, had taken earlier this week, they would likely have been facing less than two years in prison.
“They weren’t ready to accept that,” says the source, who is familiar with the legal discussions in the case. “They’re really not seeing how serious this is.”
Instead, authorities have now tacked on money laundering charges for their alleged funneling of money to get their daughter into college via a phony charity, Key Worldwide Foundation. As a result, the couple is facing up to twenty years behind bars.
According to TMZ, if they were to accept a plea deal today, prosecutors would likely recommend a minimum of around 5 years.
“They were offered the carrot and the stick,” the source told People. “The carrot was that this can all go away and you can serve your time and put it behind you. Remember, they were facing 20 years, even before the latest charges. The stick was that [the prosecution] would and could pile on more serious charges.”
Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500K to get their daughters Olivia and Isabella into USC. The girls have since dropped out of school and are reportedly not speaking to their parents.
“They decided to roll the dice,” the source says of the couple, “and it may have been a bad gamble. Now they’re in worse shape than before.”