That’s all wealthy, privileged actress Lori Loughlin will be forced to serve for bribing her two children’s way into the University of Southern California.
This slap on the wrist is a slap in the face to all the hard-working high school students who failed to gain entry into the top universities of their choice. It’s a slap in the face to all the hard-working parents who play by the rules. And it’s a slap in the face to every American serving a harsh prison sentence for an insignificant crime, because they didn’t have the financial means to procure the best attorneys money could buy.
And, let’s get real. She won’t even serve that.
Generally, federal prisoners do 100 percent of their time if they are sentenced to less than a year. However, with non-violent offenders being released early across the nation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one can easily envision a scenario in which Aunt Becky serves a fraction of her penalty.
Between all the charges, Loughlin faced up to 50 years. How did we go from half a century to just a couple months?
This is a travesty.
Loughlin’s husband isn’t getting off so easy. Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli has been sentenced to five months in prison. Still not enough.
Call it what you want. White privilege. Celebrity justice. Whatever it is, one thing is perfectly clear. There are two legal systems in this country. One that works for the rich and famous, and another for the rest of us.
To review, Loughlin and Giannulli got caught up in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents cheated their mediocre children’s way into elite universities, using a variety of techniques. In Loughlin and Giannulli’s case, the pair paid an intermediary $500,000, and had their two daughters pretend to be rowers, so they could gain admission through the athletic department.
Presumably, Loughlin and Giannulli’s daughters couldn’t get into USC on their merit, through grades and test scores. Instead, they used what the scheme’s mastermind, Rick Singer, called, “the side door.”
What has been particularly repugnant in this case has been that, until Friday, Loughlin and Giannuli have shown scant remorse. Several other parents, notably actress Felicity Huffman, accepted responsibility for their actions and pleaded guilty right away. To the contrary, Loughlin and her husband have fought tooth-and-nail for more than a year, absurdly proclaiming their innocence through their attorneys.
Between the two of them, Loughlin and Giannulli will also have to pay fines totaling $400,000. That’s a lot of money to you and me, but a drop in the bucket for them. They each will also serve two years supervised release and be required to perform 350 hours community service between them. Loughlin must give 100 hours of her time; her husband 250 hours.
None of this is enough.
There is precedent for much harsher sentences when poor people commit fraud to get their children a better education. Tanya McDowell, an African-American woman from Connecticut, was sentenced to five years in prison for falsifying her son’s address to get him into a better school district. This is not equal justice.
The judge on Friday described Loughlin and Giannulli’s actions as, “breathtaking fraud.” Their two undeserving daughters, one of whom publicly stated she didn’t even want to go to college, took away two spots from deserving students. This was not a victimless crime.
Loughlin and Giannulli now have three months to get their affairs in order before surrendering to the Bureau of Prisons to serve their brief terms.
It will be all be over for them in an instant.