Loughlin and her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli are each accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering after allegedly paying $500,000 for each of their daughters to be USC rowing recruits despite neither being active in the sport. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison term.
Their eldest daughter, Isabella Giannulli, 20, deleted her popular Instagram account late Wednesday just as reports surfaced that she received a formal letter from prosecutors that could lead to potential charges.
The Daily Mail reports that Loughlin’s daughter received a letter of intent from federal prosecutors in Massachusetts in early April as part of the ongoing Operation Varsity Blues investigation. Last week, the Wall Street Journal also reported that several students had received ‘target letters’ from federal investigators in cases where the student may have been complicit.
Several students whose parents are accused of buying or bribing officials to ensure their children’s college admission have been suspended, but so far none have been criminally charged.
The Daily Mail, quoting an unnamed source, reported that Loughlin’s daughter had received a letter. “It is a not-so-veiled threat. [The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts] is making it pretty clear that they have evidence that very strongly suggests she knew of the illegal plot.”
Loughlin’s younger daughter Olivia Jade, 19, who is also implicated in the ordeal, still has her very popular Instagram account up though she has not posted anything since Feb. 28.
This week the famous couple rejected a plea bargain that would have potentially kept them from serving jail time in exchange for a guilty plea. An associate of Loughlin told CNN that she felt she had to plead not guilty.
“Lori doesn’t understand why she’s getting so much criticism for pleading not guilty,” the friend told CNN. “People must not realize that she had no choice. The plea deal has been taken off the table, and this is the only way they've been told she and Mossimo can avoid jail time and get another plea. They are hoping justice will prevail.”
Felicity Huffman, who is one of 13 parents accused in the scandal, did enter a guilty plea this week along with several other parents embroiled in the scandal.