In their preliminary hearings, the court will read the charges to the two actresses. It is unclear whether they will enter pleas. Both women face felony charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud after being arrested in March.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has accused both actresses of being involved in a widespread effort by wealthy families to get their children into top colleges by falsifying SAT scores, lying about their athletic skills and other fraudulent means.
The Case Against Felicity Huffman
Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Desperate Housewives star Huffman paid $15,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes. Singer then allegedly facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers.
Huffman, 56, allegedly discussed the scheme in a recorded phone call with Singer, who has pleaded guilty to multiple charges and has admitted to devising the scam.
According to the complaint, Singer told Huffman that he “controlled” a testing center, and could arrange for a third party to proctor the SAT testing of Huffman’s daughter and then change the teen’s incorrect answers.
Prosecutors allege they have recordings of Huffman talking about the scheme for her younger daughter, but she ultimately didn’t follow through with that plan.
The Case Against Lori Loughlin
According to federal prosecutors, former Full House star Loughlin allegedly wanted her daughters to get into the University of Southern California so badly that she and her fashion designer husband paid half a million dollars in bribes to falsely designate their daughters as recruits on the crew team.
The complaint alleges Loughlin and Giannulli “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
The complaint alleges the couple had their daughters pose as coxswains for a local crew team as well as on rowing machines, adding that federal agents obtained emails from Loughlin and her husband allegedly implicating them in the scam.
According to the Los Angeles Times, prosecutors are pressuring some defendants to cooperate with the threat of possible additional charges. The deadline for a grand jury to hand down more charges is April 11.
A source told PEOPLE that Loughlin and Giannulli are preoccupied with the case. “They can’t wait for the court hearing to be done with,” the source said. “It’s very hard for them to think about other things right now.”
“They are both feeling very stressed out,” the source added.
Loughlin, Giannulli and Huffman have not entered pleas. Huffman’s rep and Loughlin’s attorney have not returned PEOPLE’s requests for comment.