Lori Loughlin has made a living by pretending to be someone else on screen.
Now, however, the actress will attempt to avoid time behind bars by pretending she used $500,000 from her bank account for a totally innocent purpose that was not against the law.
As you must know by now, Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted last month for their alleged role in a nationwide college admissions scandal.
The FBI has accused the couple of paying half a million dollars to a middle man named Rick Singer.
Singer than turned around and used this money to bribe a University of Southern California official to place the names of Loughlin's daughters on a list of athletic recruits... even though these daughters had no intention of playing a sport in college.
By being placed on said list, however, admissions standards were lowered for the teenagers and they were accepted into the school.
According to various outlets, the daughters (one of whom is a social media star named Olivia Jade) even posed in fake high school crew uniforms in order to sell this aspect of the scheme.
On Monday, Loughlin pleaded not guilty to all charges associated with her role in this scandal.
Many observers have wondered since why she chose to take this route; why she didn't agree to a plea bargain (like fellow actress Felicity Huffman) and thereby avoid nearly all jail time.
Entertainment Tonight, meanwhile, claims to have the answer.
"[Lori and her husband] claim they were under the impression they might be breaking rules, but not laws," a source tells this outlet, adding:
"They feel they were manipulated by those involved and are planning that as part of their defense."
Wait, what? How so?!? Please elaborate, anonymous informant...
"They realize how serious the charges are, but feel that once the judge hears their story he will see they had no bad intentions.
"They in no way felt they were money laundering. They thought the money would be used for a donation and to benefit the school."
Now there's a defense for you, huh?!?
It certainly is (unfortunately) common for a rich person to donate a lot of money to a school and basically ensure his or her daughter gets in as a result...
... but such a donation is not typically made to someone who does NOT work for the school, as it allegedly was here to Rick Singer.
Moreover, Loughlin will need to account for the pesky little fact that her children reportedly posed in those fake high school crew team uniforms.
Because Loughlin did not take her arrest seriously, she now faces 40 years in prison.
The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
Then there's the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 -- or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering.
No one expect Lori or her husband to go to jail for that long a period of time.
But she's playing a dangerous game here for certain, one that could absolutely make her a ward of the state at some point.
"When Lori heard the number of years she could spend in prison she broke down crying. The thought of being separated from her loved ones for years brought her to her knees," the same ET source says, concluding:
"She has watched as the other families cut deals but her husband feels they are not guilty and should plead not guilty."
And now they have.
We'll see how this plays out.