Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who stand accused of paying a $500,000 bribe to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits, “didn’t realize what they were doing was illegal,” a source familiar with the case told People. Loughlin and Giannulli were indicted in March as part of a sweeping college admissions scandal, in which 50 parents were accused of bribing a consultant to help cheat their kids’ way into top-tier schools. “You read the complaint and they look like criminal masterminds,” the source said. “But they really didn’t know the legalities of what was going on.” The source added that “they gave money to this consultant, not entirely knowing everything that was going to be done. When it all fell apart, nobody was as surprised as they were that they were in trouble.”
The allegations against the couple suggest otherwise: The complaint alleges that the couple submitted an “Action Picture” of one of their daughters on a rowing machine to help back up the lie, despite knowing that neither girl actually competed in crew. Loughlin and Giannulli both pleaded not guilty to charges of mail fraud and money laundering, and could face decades in prison.