A Sale of Two Titties

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We’ve all heard about the college admissions scandal in which 50 parents were charged with trying to cheat to get an acceptance from elite schools for the sake of their apparently not-too-bright offspring.

As much publicity as this scandal has received, the two most well-known of the accused are these two mothers-of-the-year – Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman:

What we have happening in front of our eyes is a fascinating real-time experiment between two people who have a tremendous amount in common but are choosing completely different pathways to deal with their circumstance.

Off the top of my head, the similarities include:

  • They are both middle-aged actresses who, while far from being household names, are fairly solid “B-list” stars;
  • They are both married to rich and famous men; in Huffman’s case, the actor William H. Macy, and in Loughlin’s, the seller-of-tacky-T-shirts back in the 1990s Mossimo Giannulli (who himself is likewise accused and has probably ruined his life);
  • They both had children that were wholly incapable of decent test scores and, in order to have a chance at a decent school, decided to falsify credentials and test results rather than let their kid commence their rightful employment at In-N-Out Burger;
  • And, of course, they both managed to find their way to the services of criminal scam artist Rich Singer

And that, I think, is where the broad similarities end. The one big difference between them is what I find most interesting, and it is one that applies to us as traders who are constantly assessing risk and reward.

Huffman, on the one hand, decided to go ahead and swallow the bitter pill. She pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. The general feeling is that she’ll get something like 4 months behind bars.

Of course, that’s probably the least inconsequential part of the outcome for her, as the other “losses” are far greater. The loss of abandoned income that she (as well as her husband who, while not charged, was also badly tainted) surely measures in the millions, to say nothing of the disastrous fissure that must exist between her and her kid. She truly looks like a woman whose world has been blown to pieces.

Loughlin, on the other hand, has decided to embrace some kind of fantasy world in which what she did wasn’t so bad and she’s going to get off scot-free. In sharp contrast to the photo of Huffman above, when Loughlin has appeared at the courthouse, she seems absolutely delighted. Hell, she’s even signing autographs for fans.

If I may go out on a limb here, I think this woman is a fool. There are a number of things working against her:

  • The size of the bribe was much bigger. Loughlin paid $500,000, over thirty times the size of Huffman’s puny $15,000 “fee”;
  • Loughlin not only has shown no remorse, she has been utterly arrogant and dismissive about the entire matter (see photo above);
  • Worst of all, a steady stream of those accused have been surrendering and have agreed to testify in behalf of the prosecutors; this includes guidance counselors, other accused parents, coaches, and others who can provide more damning evidence (as if taped conversations and cancelled checks weren’t enough).

Word on the street is that Loughlin is estranged from her two bubble-headed daughters, the more famous of the two having the unusual name of Olivia Jade who, from what I can gather from recent photos, had ambitions to be a high-end hooker in Las Vegas.

There are plenty of cynics who say that she and her husband are going to get away with this because they’re rich. I don’t think so. This is an extremely visible case, and in light of the bravado this family in showing in light of these charges, I wouldn’t be at all surprised for them to get a sentence measured in years instead of months. In other words, she’s making a really bad trade. Instead of just realizing they’ve got her ass nailed to the wall (as Huffman did), she’s decided to “fight the good fight” (in her mind) and chance the consequences.

I am very confident she’s going to regret it in the end. We will all see how this unfolds, and it’s going to be fascinating to see if Loughlin turns out to be the fool or her doppelganger Huffman. Stay tuned!

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