10:35 AM PT — Well, prosecutors did exactly what we reported early Tuesday morning. Since Lori did not cop a plea, the U.S. Attorney went to a Federal Grand Jury to get an indictment, adding charges of money laundering. This now DRASTICALLY increases the amount of time Lori and her husband would get as a minimum recommended sentence.
Specifically, the U.S. Attorney says, Lori, her husband and 14 others will now be charged with the additional crime of “conspiring to launder the bribes and other payment in furtherance of the fraud by funneling them through [Rick] Singer’s purported charity and his for-profit corporation.”
The money laundering charge alone carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.
This means if Lori and her husband now want to plea bargain their cases, instead of a minimum range of 2 to 2 and a half years in prison … prosecutors would recommend to the judge a MINIMUM RANGE OF 4 YEARS AND 9 MONTHS UP TO 5 YEARS AND 11 MONTHS.
There’s also a very technical rub. Theoretically by charging CONSPIRACY to money launder, the minimum sentence could go even higher — way higher.
Short story … prosecutors are out for blood. Lori Loughlin and her husband are in a way worse position than Felicity Huffman … because the huge amount they allegedly paid in bribes to get their daughters into USC could land them in prison for 2 YEARS MINIMUM … TMZ has learned.
Sources connected to the case tell us … all of the parents in the college cheating scandal have been offered plea deals, but prosecutors will only accept pleas with prison time attached.
As we reported, Felicity copped a plea Monday, along with 12 other parents. The remaining 37 individuals charged — including Lori and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli — have been offered plea deals, with varying recommendations for prison sentences, largely determined by the amount they paid in bribes and whether they accept responsibility for what they did.
Felicity’s plea would enable her to serve as little as 4 months in prison. The problem for Lori and Mossimo is that they paid $500,000 to allegedly bribe the crew coach, and the amount raises the MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCE IN A PLEA DEAL TO A RANGE OF 2 TO 2 1/2 YEARS.
Our sources say prosecutors have given all defendants an ultimatum … reach a plea deal QUICKLY or else they will go to a Federal Grand Jury and add charges, including money laundering, which significantly raises the low end of prison time.