Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli have a new and interesting defense strategy — they are reportedly claiming that they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal.
Both Loughlin and her husband Giannulli were charged last month with money laundering and mail fraud in a massive college admissions scam dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The two are accused of paying $500K to get their daughters into USC.
But according to People Magazine, a source says the two didn’t know exactly what the $500K they spent was going for and instead believed they were just using someone to help their daughters get accepted into USC.
“You read the complaint and they look like criminal masterminds,” the source told People. “But they really didn’t know the legalities of what was going on. They’re not lawyers and they’re not experts. They were parents who simply wanted to make sure that their daughters got into a good school.”
The source says Loughlin never “intended” to break any laws and if she did, it was unintentional.
“Calling in favors, donating money to the alumni association, hiring consultants. Those are all things that parents do,” the source said. “And so 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 man they hired, Rick Singer, allegedly didn’t tell them how he would be using the money they spent, TMZ reports. And when he (suspiciously) asked them for photos of their daughters on rowing machines, the couple reportedly didn’t realize it would be for him to lie that the girls were on the crew team (which they weren’t).
“The bottom line is that they just didn’t realize that what they were doing was illegal,” the source insists to People.
Giannulli and Loughlin pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges last week. The two are both facing 20 years in prison for each charge.