Along with 13 other parents, actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman made their first court appearances Wednesday as they face criminal charges for their alleged participation in a college admissions fraud ring.
According to NBC News, Huffman, 56, arrived three hours early to federal court in Boston while Loughlin, 54, and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, 55, arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m. The news outlet reported that Huffman had to go through security three times because her FitBit kept setting off the metal detectors.
According to People magazine, Loughlin signed autographs and took pictures with fans before she entered U.S. District Court. An onlooker who spoke with the magazine claimed the actress thanked them for “being such good fans.”
Huffman and Loughlin are facing conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services fraud charges in connection with the FBI’s investigation code-named Operation Varsity Blues. NBC reported that 50 people have been criminally charged, with The New York Times reporting that 33 parents have been implicated in the scheme.
Huffman is accused of paying college consultant William Singer $15,000 to get her daughter unlimited time on her SAT. Loughlin and Giannulli had allegedly paid $500,000 to guarantee their two daughters’ admissions into the University of Southern California. Reports indicated that the couple intended to have their daughters recruited for the college’s crew team even though neither plays the sport.
Identified as the organizer of the multimillion-dollar racket, Singer has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile, federal law enforcement officials told TMZ that prosecutors won’t greenlight any plea deals which don’t entail Loughlin and Huffman spending time behind bars. The sources claimed no plea deals have been made at this point in time.
“You can’t have people being treated differently because they have money,” the unnamed official told the tabloid. “That’s how we got to this place. Every defendant will be treated the same.”
[Featured image: Lori Loughlin/AP Photo/Steven Senne]