RELATED: Amid the College Admissions Scandal, Here Are 8 Organizations Helping Disadvantaged Students

“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.”

On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced the initial charges against 50 people, including Loughlin.

RELATED: Lori Loughlin Allegedly Paid for Daughters to Pose as Crew Recruits — Even Though Neither Rowed

Loughlin, 54, allegedly gave $500,000 to have her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, designated crew team recruits for USC, even though they had never rowed, the indictment alleges.

RELATED: Amid the College Admissions Scandal, Here Are 8 Organizations Helping Disadvantaged Students

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Prosecutors alleged in the original criminal complaint against the couple that Loughlin paid $500,000 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 has since admitted his role as the ringleader of the scam and has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

As things continue to tighten, Loughlin and Giannulli are now trying to figure out their next move, the source tells PEOPLE.

“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.”

Calls to attorneys for Loughlin, Giannulli and Huffman were not immediately returned.

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College Cheating Scandal

23 featured stories since

Lori Loughlin Deletes Social Media Accounts in Wake of Alleged College Admissions Scam

3/12/2019

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3/12/2019

Lori Loughlin to Be Released on $1M Bond After Arrest in Alleged College Admissions Cheating Scam

3/13/2019

Lori Loughlin Dropped By Hallmark Channel Amid College Admissions Scandal

3/14/2019

Olivia Munn Slams Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin: ‘What These Parents Did Wasn’t for Love’

3/14/2019

3/17/2019

$500 Billion Lawsuit Against Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Is ‘Ridiculous’: Legal Expert

3/18/2019

Lori Loughlin Allegedly Sent High-Five Emoji to Scam Ringleader After Olivia Jade Got Into USC

3/18/2019

Lori Loughlin’s Kids Are ‘Not Talking About Future Plans’ After Alleged College Bribery Scam

3/20/2019

Lori Loughlin Allegedly Discussed How to Explain Bribe to IRS: ‘So We Just Have to Say We Made a Donation’

3/20/2019

Sonja Morgan Shares the Advice She’s Giving to Her Daughter, 18, amid College Admissions Scandal

3/22/2019

3/24/2019

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giuannulli Are ‘Very Stressed Out’ About the College Scandal: Source

3/29/2019

Bob Saget Speaks Out Amid

3/30/2019

Lori Loughlin and Husband Mossimo Giannulli Spotted Out for First Time Since Alleged College Scam

3/29/2019

Lori Loughlin Stays Calm While Being Asked If She’s ‘Afraid of Going to Prison’

3/31/2019

Bob Saget Deletes Cryptic Tweet About ‘Lying’ as Lori Loughlin Goes to Court for College Scandal

4/3/2019

Lori Loughlin Shakes Hands of Prosecutors as She and Felicity Huffman Appear in Court

4/3/2019

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman Could Go to Prison, Says Legal Expert

4/5/2019

Lori Loughlin All Smiles in L.A. During Hug-Filled Outing with Daughter Amid College Admissions Scandal

4/6/2019

Felicity Huffman’s Netflix Film Delayed After She Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Case

4/9/2019

Lori Loughlin Rejected Plea Deal Before New Charges, Says Source: ‘Not Seeing How Serious This Is’

4/9/2019

Felicity Huffman Could See Less Than a Year in Prison — But Lori Loughlin Could Face Longer

4/9/2019

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