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Lori Loughlin returns to television after prison time for college admissions scandal

Federal authorities revealed in 2019 that Loughlin was part of Operation Varsity Blues, and she was later sentenced to two months in prison.
Image: Lori Loughlin
Lori Loughlin enters the "AOL Build" taping at the AOL Studios in New York City on Aug. 3, 2017.Ray Tamarra / GC Images file

Actor Lori Loughlin is set to return to television for the first time since she went to prison for her role in the 2019 college admissions scandal.

Loughlin, best known for her role in the '90s sitcom "Full House," will renew her role as Abigail Stanton on the second season of "When Hope Calls," which originally aired on the Hallmark Channel but will now be broadcast on GAC Family Channel. Hallmark Channel's parent company said more than two years ago that it had terminated development of all productions with Loughlin.

She is set to guest-star in a two-part holiday premiere, titled "When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas," on Dec. 18, GAC Family said in a news release.

Federal authorities revealed in 2019 that Loughlin had been part of what they dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, a scandal involving wealthy parents who paid fixers to get their children into elite universities.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, admitted having paid $500,000 to Rick Singer and Key Worldwide Foundation to falsely designate her daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli, 20, and Isabella Rose Giannulli, 21, as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team.

Neither girl was a rower. The couple went as far as to pose them on rowing machines for their admissions application.

Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison, fined $150,000 and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service upon her release. Her husband was sentenced to five months in prison, fined $250,000 and ordered to complete 250 hours of community service.

"When Hope Calls" is a spinoff of the channel's popular period drama "When Calls the Heart." Production was abruptly paused for "When Calls the Heart" after Loughlin's involvement in the admissions scandal was revealed.

She was written out of "When Calls the Heart" after six seasons by having her character leave to take care of an ailing family member. It is unclear whether she will also return to the series, which was renewed for a ninth season in May.