Yesterday Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin didn’t enter a plea in their appearances in federal court in Boston for their purported role the widespread elite college bribery scheme, but prison time for the Hollywood stars is looking more and more likely, according to some legal experts.
Since this is such a high profile case, prosecutors are very likely to ask for the maximum allowed sentence from the judge, which would see the stars of Full House and Desperate housewives behind bars, for at least a little while.
Generally white collar criminals get a stern lecture and a warning to be better next time but, since so many people are actively following this news story, Huffman and Loughlin probably won't get off so easy.
Charges against both of the actresses come with a maximum prison sentence of about 5 years.
But the early reports suggest both women are probably going to be doing somewhere around 6 months to just under two years.
However, rumblings among law enforcement indicate that the actors are more than likely looking at a penalty of somewhere around six months to just under two years. The actual time sentenced and potential probation and fines could, in no small part, depend on how much the duo cooperate with the on-going probe, I’m told.
The relatively short preliminary and fairly perfunctory hearing appearance Wednesday in The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston by the heavily lawyered-up Huffman and Loughlin comes just over two weeks after a swath of indictments came from the FBI and the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
The indictments, made public on March 12, saw 50 people charged in the nationwide $25 million scam by William Singer and his phony Key Worldwide Foundation. They promised to fast-track the kids of the wealthy to top schools with fake athletic credentials or phony SAT scores.
Among the 33 well-heeled parents arrested, Huffman and Loughlin are being charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud, according to the unsealed indictment.
In front of Magistrate Judge Page Kelly today, Huffman and Loughlin joined several other indicted parents in a fairly standard hearing where they were asked if they understood the charges they face. Individually, both had to ink paperwork related to their bail, respectively $250,000 and $1,000,000, turn over their passports, and agree to a number of conditions involving talking to witnesses and more.
Ex-When Calls The Heart lead Loughlin made a point of shaking hands with the three federal prosecutors before her segment of the hearing started.
The actor and Huffman also scored a small win when Judge Kelly denied the feds’ request that they should not be able to discuss the situation with their children or spouses. In Loughlin’s case, that’s dramatically unrealistic, as her husband is also under indictment. While Huffman’s husband William H. Macy is cited in transcripts in the initial indictment, the Shameless actor is not a defendant in the case – at least not this year.
Unlike Huffman’s arraignment hearing in DTLA on March 12, Macy was not in court today in Boston.
Singer and several coaches from top schools entered guilty pleas on March 12. The former call center manager is said to be cooperating fully with authorities in a probe that is expected to see more high- profile indictments and perhaps even charges from the I.R.S.