Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are currently facing jail time if found guilty of the charges against them in the college bribery scandal, but the couple is maintaining their innocence by claiming they didn't know what they were doing was illegal.
Loughlin and Giannulli, who have become the faces of the college bribery scandal, are facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud as well as money laundering for allegedly paying over $500,000 to secure admission for their two daughters to the University of Southern California.
The couple allegedly used the money to pay William “Rick” Singer to secure the admission. Singer is accused of using the cash to bribe college athletic coaches to place the girls' on the school's crew roster. Now sources are claiming the couple wasn't aware that they were breaking any laws and weren't fully aware of what Singer was doing with their money.
“You read the complaint and they look like criminal masterminds,” a 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.”
In fact, the source states that both Loughlin and Giannulli thought they were doing what many other parents do to secure admission for their children to the college of their choice. “Calling in favors, donating money to the alumni association, hiring consultants. Those are all things that parents do,” the source told the magazine. “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.”
According to TMZ part of both Loughlin and Giannulli's defense is that they didn't know how Singer was going to use the funds they gave him and thought the money would be used more as a way of buying favor with the school instead of doing something illegal. A source said the couple "claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws."
Many are questioning that line of defense as Page Six reports that Giannulli can be heard on a wiretap phone call to Singer allegedly confirming that he paid USC’s senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, to ensure his daughter's admission. In the affidavit submitted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, it claims there are emails, voicemails and recorded phone conversations between Loughlin, Giannulli, and Singer as well as two USC officials who are also allegedly involved in the scandal.
Regardless of whether the couple knew that they were allegedly committing a crime or not, they are both now facing very serious charges with very serious jail sentences if convicted.