Report: Lori Loughlin stupidly rejected feds' plea deal, now faces much stiffer charges

This was a logical assumption after yesterday’s news that she and 15 others were now being charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, but a source who spoke to People magazine confirms it. The feds apparently offered her a deal that would have required her to serve a year or two and threatened to pile on more charges if she didn’t accept.

She passed. With the two new charges added, she now faces a maximum of 40 years. What is she thinking?

And more importantly, who’s going to play Aunt Becky in the “Full House” reboot while Loughlin’s in the joint making license plates? Can they get Cindy Crawford, maybe? They’re almost the same age and I’ve always thought there was a resemblance.

Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, have not entered pleas — and a source close to them tells PEOPLE that they have resisted any agreements that would result in jail time. Under federal guidelines, both of them would have gotten between 18-24 months in jail under a plea agreement.

“They weren’t ready to accept that,” says the source, who is familiar with the legal discussions in the case. “They’re really not seeing how serious this is.”

“They were offered the carrot and the stick,” the source tells PEOPLE. “The carrot was that this can all go away and you can serve your time and put it behind you. Remember, they were facing 20 years, even before the latest charges. The stick was that [the prosecution] would and could pile on more serious charges.”…

“They decided to roll the dice,” the source says, “and it may have been a bad gamble. Now they’re in worse shape than before.”

Granted, Cindy Crawford’s not an actress by trade. But how demanding can a “Full House” guest shot be?

Loughlin and her husband may have believed that the feds simply weren’t serious about insisting on prison time for two perps whose motive was simply to give their children every advantage in life. But they are serious: “Prosecutors know this is a high profile case and they want to make an example of the defendants,” a second source told People. Which, frankly, should have been clear after Felicity Huffman copped a plea in return for the feds agreeing to ask for a sentence on the “low end” of the 4-10 months she was facing. Clearly they wanted Huffman to serve *some* time. Given that Loughlin allegedly paid a much bigger bribe, just as clearly they want her to serve more.

And so, legal eagles, what are Loughlin and her no doubt very capable and well-paid lawyers banking on here? It goes without saying that she won’t receive anything like the statutory maximum if she’s found guilty — she and her husband are first-time offenders — but a former public defender in L.A. told Fox News, “I wouldn’t be surprised if she got between 5-10 years of federal prison because of the amount of negative publicity in this case.” Why, why, why would Loughlin pass on a potential 18-month sentence knowing she was running the risk of 5-10 if she did?

The temptation is to say that she’s counting on her celebrity status to produce an acquittal at trial, which is always a fair bet in America, but remember that the alleged mastermind of the college admissions plot is and has been cooperating with the feds for a long time. He’ll testify in exquisite detail in court as to Loughlin’s and her husband’s culpability. It’d be one thing if she was facing an O.J. situation where the alternative to rolling the dice at trial is life in prison but I can’t understand her believing that the odds are so strongly in her favor before a jury that she’d risk a sentence many times longer than what she’d receive from a deal.

Did her lawyers think maybe the feds were bluffing about adding on charges, decided to call that bluff, and now hope/expect they’ll be able to convince them to go back to the original plea offer in exchange for a promise to accept it? Would the U.S. Attorney even agree to that?

Exit question: How about Sandra Bullock as Aunt Becky? Right, she’s too A-list for the role. But maybe she’d do it for sh*ts and giggles?