Lori Loughlin faces up to 45 years in prison for her alleged role in the college admissions scandal.

By Steve Helling
January 03, 2020 01:22 PM
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This article has been updated.

Lori Loughlin is preparing for every possible outcome in her upcoming trial in the high-profile college admissions scandal — and that may include learning what life will be like if she ends up serving jail time.

“She has someone who is advising her what to do in case she loses her case and goes to prison,” a source close to the Fuller House actress tells PEOPLE. “The advisor is there to help her learn the ropes. That’s not to be construed that she thinks she’s going to lose her case. Lori is a planner, and she is doing what she needs to do for all contingencies.”

However, a rep for Loughlin denies that she is working with a prison advisor.

Loughlin, 55, faces up to 45 years in prison for her alleged role in the scandal.

According to the complaint against them, Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid $500,000 to admissions consultant Rick Singer (and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation) to falsely designate daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, 20, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 21, as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, though neither actually participated in the sport.

Authorities allege that the family even took photos of the girls on rowing equipment to perpetuate the ruse.

Lori Loughlin
| Credit: Steven Senne/AP/REX/Shutterstock

In addition to charges of money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud, Loughlin and Giannulli were handed an additional federal charge last October: one count each of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery. They have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

The source close to Loughlin insists that she will mount a vigorous defense. The couple filed a motion last month claiming that they didn’t know their donations would be used as bribes. They say that they were hoodwinked by Singer.

The couple has closely followed other high-profile cases in the scandal, and realize that many defendants who have pleaded guilty have still had to serve jail time. (Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison.)

“They realize that if they are convicted, they’ll have to serve time,” says the source. “And they’re figuring out what that would look like, which includes hiring a consultant to explain prison life to them.”

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“The whole point is to have someone tell her how to keep herself safe,” the source tells PEOPLE. “She needs to keep a low profile if she’s incarcerated. Obviously, she’s going to stand out, because of all the publicity and because she’s a star. She can’t do anything about that. But she doesn’t want to stand out because she’s so green that she does the wrong things… She wants to understand what the experience will be like, and how to not only survive it, but flourish in it.”

Credit: Gabriel Olsen/Getty

So what are some of the things an advisor could teach her? The source would not disclose specifics but acknowledges that life is different in jail.

“Table manners are different; social interactions are different,” the source says. “Here on the outside, eye contact is a good thing. You meet someone and you shake their hands and stare them in the eyes. In prison, you might not do that. You don’t want to challenge someone.”

“Prison is a very different world than Hollywood,” adds the source.