Felicity Huffman pleads guilty in college admissions scam
The 56-year-old actress entered the plea Monday to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Huffman stood with her hands clasped in front of her and responded, “Yes, your honour,” when asked whether she understood the charges. Her brother watched from the front row. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, didn’t attend.
WATCH: Felicity Huffman says she holds ‘deep regret and shame’ ahead of guilty plea in college admissions scandal
Huffman entered her plea two months after she was arrested in the investigation named “Operation Varsity Blues” and accused of paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT score.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. Prosecutors said they would recommend four months in prison. She has apologized and says she will accept the consequences.
The case has put the career of the Emmy-winning star of Desperate Housewives in turmoil and laid bare the elite’s ability to influence the education system.
She is among 14 parents who have agreed to plead guilty to charges in what authorities have called it the biggest college admissions cheating scandal ever prosecuted in the U.S.
The parents are accused of paying an admissions consultant to bribe coaches in exchange for helping their children get into school as athletic recruits. The consultant, Rick Singer, also paid off entrance exam administrators to allow a proctor to take tests for students or fix their answers, authorities say.
Huffman paid Singer $15,000 to have a proctor correct her older daughter’s SAT answers and considered going through with the plan for her younger daughter before deciding not to, authorities say.
WATCH: Felicity Huffman is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court in Boston on Monday
Huffman has said her daughter was unaware of her actions.
“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,” the actor said in an emailed statement last month.
Because Huffman agreed to plead guilty, prosecutors have promised to recommend a sentence at the low end of that range, but the judge could also choose not to send her to prison.
Some parents have decided to fight the charges.
Fellow actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither of them is a rower.
Also scheduled to plead guilty Monday is Los Angeles businessman Devin Sloane, who authorities say paid $250,000 to get his son into USC as a fake water polo recruit.
WATCH BELOW: Felicity Huffman arrives at federal court for college bribery scandal proceedings
Sloane, who founded a drinking and wastewater systems company, bought water polo gear online and worked with a graphic designer to create a bogus photo of his son playing the sport for the teen’s application, officials say.
© 2019 The Canadian Press