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Here's why Lori Loughlin is facing up to 40 years in prison in the college-admissions scandal while Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 14 days

INSIDER logoINSIDER 9/13/2019 Kelly McLaughlin
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(Video provided by NBC News)

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among the 51 people charged in the college admissions scandal, in which parents are accused of paying up to $6 million to guarantee their children spots at elite universities. 

But months after their March indictments, they're looking at very different futures.

Huffman became the first parent to be sentenced in the scheme on Friday. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison. Along with 14 days in prison, Huffman was fined $30,000, ordered to do 250 hours of community service and will be on supervised release for a year.

Loughlin, meanwhile, is facing up to a 40-year sentence.

The difference comes down to their plea decisions: Huffman pleaded guilty, while Loughlin pleaded not guilty.

The actresses are also accused of investing vastly different amounts of money in the scheme: $15,000 for Huffman and $500,000 for Loughlin.

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman are posing for a picture © AP Photo Huffman disguised her bribe as a charitable donation for disadvantaged youth

Huffman is paid the scheme's ringleader, Rick Singer, $15,000 to have her eldest daughter's SAT score falsified so she could get into top colleges.

An affidavit said that Huffman arranged for her daughter to take the SAT at the West Hollywood Test Center, where her answers were later corrected, and that Huffman disguised the $15,000 as a charitable donation for disadvantaged young people.

The court document said Huffman had also arranged for her youngest daughter to be part of the scheme but later decided against it.

Huffman agreed to plead guilty in April and appeared in court to give her guilty plea in May. She was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in March. 

"I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the educational community," Huffman said in a statement in April. "I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly."

Prosecutors initially recommended 4 months in prison for Huffman's sentence, but later lowered the recommendation to 30 days.

Huffman had asked for a year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine instead.

Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying Singer $500,000 to guarantee their daughters, Isabella and Olivia, admission to the University of Southern California.

The affidavit said Giannulli and Loughlin used bribes to facilitate Isabella's admission to USC by having her pose as a recruited crew coxswain, though she had never participated in the sport. As part of the scheme, Giannulli sent Singer a photo of Isabella on a rowing machine, the court document said.

Giannulli and Loughlin repeated the scheme for Olivia, the court document said.

Loughlin and Giannulli were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud, and they were among several parents later charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

While Huffman pleaded guilty, Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty and now face up to 20 years in prison for each charge, for a maximum sentence of 40 years.

While Loughlin has not publicly addressed the allegations against her and her husband, insiders close to the "Fuller House" actress have told multiple news agencies that she did not take the charges seriously at first

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