The actress "didn’t see [her alleged actions] as being a legal violation," says the insider

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April 11, 2019 04:22 PM

For the last month, Lori Loughlin has grappled with the charges against her in the high-profile college admissions cheating scandal, a source close to the actress tells PEOPLE.

“It’s just taking some time for it to sink in that what she was allegedly doing could be considered illegal,” says the source. “To her, it wasn’t egregious behavior. Was it entitled and perhaps selfish? Perhaps. But she didn’t see it as being a legal violation.”

“From the beginning, she didn’t want to take a deal, because she felt that she hadn’t done anything that any mom wouldn’t have done, if they had the means to do so,” the source continues. “So this wasn’t her being obstinate; this was her truly not understanding the seriousness of the allegations.”

On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced it had charged 50 people, including Loughlin and fellow actress Felicity Huffman, in the cheating scandal. The two actresses, along with coaches, admissions counselors, parents and Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of such alleged crimes as falsifying SAT scores and lying about the athletic skills of their children.

RELATED: Amid the College Admissions Scandal, Here Are 8 Organizations Helping Disadvantaged Students

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According to prosecutors, Loughlin allegedly wanted her daughters to get into the University of Southern California so badly that she and Giannulli paid approximately $500,000 in bribes to falsely designate their daughters as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.

Huffman has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

But Loughlin, who faces the same charge along with her husband, has not yet admitted to any guilt — and things got worse for her on Tuesday, when she and Giannulli were among 16 parents indicted on an additional felony charge of money laundering conspiracy.

Now things are beginning to sink in for the actress, the source says. “She’s trying to decide what is the best move for her,” says the source. “She has no desire to prolong this for anyone, but she still believes that she deserves a fair outcome.”

“Obviously, the deal, if any, will be different than if she had taken a deal a week ago [before the latest charge],” the source continues. “She’s a smart woman and she realizes that. But she is amenable to discussing how to put this behind everyone now. She’s ready for this to go away.”

Reps for Loughlin and Giannulli have not returned PEOPLE’s calls for comment.

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