Four more parents pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges in connection with this spring’s college admissions scam. Previously, all of these parents — like Lori Loughlin — had submitted not guilty pleas. So, will Loughlin change her plea as more parents plead guilty? Or does she still believe she won’t be found guilty?
Loughlin, along with fellow actress Felicity Huffman, shocked the public with their involvement in this scandal joining a number of affluent parents discovered to have paid large sums of money to have their children fraudulently admitted to elite universities.
Now, Huffman is in prison, an outcome many didn’t expect after the Desperate Housewives star accepted a plea deal.
NBC News reports that the following four parents have now followed in Huffman’s footsteps and changed their pleas to ‘guilty’: Manuel Henriquez, founder of Hercules Capital; Elizabeth Henriquez, his wife; Michelle Janavs, Hot Pockets heiress; and Douglas Hodge, former CEO of Pimco. And just to round out this group of random rich people: Martin Fox, former head of a private tennis academy in Texas, will also plead guilty to related charges.
Why the sudden change of heart? Well, it seems the courts are taking this a bit more seriously. It’s not just Huffman’s two-week prison sentence that’s spooking these other parents — this month alone, parent Agustin Francisco Huneeus was ordered to serve five months in prison, while parent Robert Flaxman was ordered to serve one month.
As more and more parents hedge their bets and plead guilty, will Loughlin follow suit and change course? Compared to Huffman’s crime of paying a $15,000 bribe to have her daughter’s SAT scores adjusted, Loughlin’s alleged actions seem relatively severe. She and husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 for both of their daughters to be recruited to USC’s crew team (neither daughter rows crew).
And yet, Loughlin confidently submitted a not guilty plea in April. USC confirmed that daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose are no longer enrolled, and the family has stayed quiet when it comes to discussing legal proceedings.
Given how other parents’ sentencings have played out, many are speculating that Loughlin could face years in jail even if she does take a plea deal. Whatever Loughlin thinks of her own actions, it seems the courts feel differently — and even Loughlin’s celebrity may not be enough to dull the consequences.
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