Hollywood actress Lori Loughlin could face a tougher sentence than Felicity Huffman if she’s convicted in the college admissions bribery scandal, US Attorney Andrew Lelling said in an interview with WCVB-TV.

“If she’s convicted, I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets by saying we would probably ask for a higher sentence for her than we did for Felicity Huffman,” Lelling said in the interview. “I can’t tell you exactly what that would be.”

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were charged with paying $500,000 in bribes to help their daughters get into the University of Southern California. They pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.


Huffman pleaded guilty to fraud two months after the scandal broke in March. Prosecutors had asked that Huffman serve one month in prison, and she was ultimately sentenced to 14 days behind bars, 250 hours of community service, and a $30,000 fine.

Lelling said he thought Huffman’s sentence was reasonable.

“Ms. Huffman was probably the least culpable of the defendants who we charged in that case,” Lelling told WCVB-TV.

Lelling said one of the things they looked at was how much money was involved, noting that Huffman spent about $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT score. She also expressed remorse for doing so.

Huffman “took responsibility almost immediately,” Lelling said. “She was contrite, did not try to minimize her conduct. I think she handled it in a very classy way.”

Lelling said Huffman’s 14-day prison sentence also sent a message to the other defendants in the case.

“I think it sent a clear message to the other parents involved that there really is a good chance that if you’re convicted of the offense, you’re going to go to prison for some period of time,” said Lelling. “Because the least culpable defendant, who took responsibility right away, even she got prison.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.