Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty to College Admissions Fraud
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston on Monday, accepting responsibility for paying a $15,000 bribe to boost her daughter’s SAT score.
Federal prosecutors recommended a four-month prison sentence, a $20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release. Huffman is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13.
The “Desperate Housewives” actress was accompanied in court by her brother, Moore Huffman Jr. Her defense attorneys are expected to ask for a reduction in the seriousness of the offense, which could mean that she would not face any prison time.
Huffman and a dozen other parents agreed to plead guilty last month, as part of massive federal investigation into widespread cheating in elite college admissions.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” Huffman said in a statement in April.
Huffman paid admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer in order to have her daughter take the exam at the West Hollywood Test Center, which Singer controlled. Singer has admitted that he paid “proctors” to correct wrong answers on students’ tests or take the exam in their place. Huffman’s husband, actor William H. Macy, is also said to have agreed to the arrangement, though he was not charged in the case. The couple also considered using Singer’s services for their younger daughter, but ultimately opted not to, according to a criminal complaint.
Actress Lori Loughlin is accused of hiring Singer as well, though the charges against her are more serious. According to an indictment, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid Singer $500,000 to establish false athletic profiles for their two daughters. The girls were admitted to USC as members of the crew team, though they did not participate in the sport.
Loughlin and Giannulli were among the parents who did not plead guilty initially, and now face an indictment for money laundering in addition to the original fraud charge.
Another parent, Los Angeles businessman Devin Sloane, also pleaded guilty on Monday. Sloane admitted to paying Singer $250,000 to get his son into USC as a water polo recruit. Prosecutors are asking the judge to sentence Sloane to one year and one day in prison. Sloane is set to be sentenced on Sept. 10. Given the similarity between their cases, Sloane’s sentence could be suggestive of the prosecution’s position should Loughlin and Giannulli be found guilty.