Season Finale or Brand New Pilot? Aunt Becky’s Release From Prison

Annabella Gao '23

On Monday, December 28, 2020, actress Lori Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on “Full House”, was released from Dublin, California’s Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) [4]. She served a two-month sentence for her participation in the Operation Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal. 


The scandal first made headlines in March 2019, implicating more than 50 people in a widespread machination to rig college admissions decisions. Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of paying upwards of $500,000 in bribes to obtain admission for their daughters at University of Southern California (USC) [1]. Loughlin and Giannulli, receiving  help from Rick Singer, masqueraded their daughters — Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli — as crew recruits, designated by admissions officers to join the school’s rowing team [7]. 


At first, the couple pleaded not guilty; however, after several months of worrying about her future sentence, Loughlin changed her plea alongside her husband in May 2020. The prosecutors had released new evidence, such as what appeared to be the Giannulli daughters’ falsified rowing photographs. Furthermore, the United States District attorney for Massachusetts declared in an interview that if Loughlin went to trial and was found guilty, she would most likely face a longer sentence [3].


After her plea, Nathaniel Gorton, the United States District Judge, sentenced Loughlin to two months in prison while her husband received a five-month sentence. Now that she has been released from prison, Loughlin has two years of supervised release, an $150,000 fine, and a required 100 hours of community service [7]. 


Meanwhile, Mossimo Giannulli is currently serving his sentence. Because of COVID-19 concerns, he has spent more than two months in solitary confinement at California’s FCI-Lompoc; in January, his attorneys requested that he be able to finish his sentence in home confinement [5]. They argued that the solitary confinement was far more extreme than his original sentencing and has, as a result, seriously harmed his well-being.  However, this motion was denied by the judge, who determined that Giannulli’s motion did not meet the criteria needed [6]. It is expected that Giannulli will be released in April 2021.


As for the Giannulli children, they are no longer attending college at USC. Olivia Jade has resumed her life of YouTube stardom, with a channel that still boasts over 1.8 million subscribers. However, whether the family has learned from this scandal remains to be seen.


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