Amid reports that a plea deal could be reached in the Lori Loughlin case, avoiding trial altogether, the Justice Department indicted the actress and her husband on additional charges of bribery on Tuesday for their participation in the college admissions scam.
“A grand jury in Boston indicted the parents on charges of trying to bribe officials at an organization that receives at least $10,000 in federal funding,” reports Fox News. “In this case, they’re accused of paying to get their children admitted to the University of Southern California. All 11 defendants have previously pleaded not guilty to other charges in the scheme.”
Should the couple be convicted of the bribery charges, they could face up to five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine. This past April, the couple pleaded not guilty against charges of mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy in the college bribery scam, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Sources close to the family told People that Loughlin is now increasingly terrified that she will face jail time in light of the new charges, fearing that prosecutors are seeking to make an example out of her.
“They feel like this is David versus Goliath,” the source reportedly said. “How do you go up against the federal government, when the government has decided to make an example out of you? How can you possibly move forward from this?”
“This stress is about to break them,” the source continued. “She is angry, she is sad, but most of all, she is terrified. It just gets worse and worse for her. And you have to remember: Nothing new has happened. They could have charged her with all of this last spring. But they waited. She feels like she is a scapegoat.”
The new charges came on the same day that TMZ reported on the possibility of Loughlin reaching a plea deal to receive the same slap-on-the-wrist sentence as Felicity Huffman.
“Multiple sources involved in the various college admissions cases say Lori’s big break came with the probation department’s sentencing report for Felicity, specifically, the part where the department says no one suffered a loss as a result of the actress’s conduct,” reported TMZ. “Prosecutors argued someone who took the SAT was probably denied admission somewhere because Felicity’s daughter scored higher than she should have because of a rigged test. Probation said … not the case.”
Basically, the sources with U.S. Attorney expressed worry to TMZ that prosecutors would go through a lengthy trial of Loughlin and her husband only to have them be recommended to a few simple weeks in prison. This was compounded by the fact that Felicity Huffman earned just 14 days in prison against prosecutors’ wishes for a one-year prison term.
“Prosecutors, we’re told, are worried it will become an embarrassment for the office if Lori goes to trial, gets convicted, and gets a short sentence,” TMZ continued. “And remember, Felicity rigged an SAT test that potentially affects every applicant. With Lori, even though she paid way more ($500,000), the bribe didn’t really affect anyone else.”