Felicity Huffman teared up while pleading guilty to mail fraud in a federal court on May 13, learning that she could face significant jail time for the alleged crimes.
Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to a fake charity that helped forge her daughter’s SAT scores in the college admissions scandal. While the Desperate Housewives star, 56, faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence for the crime, prosecutors are asking for significantly less. Still, it didn’t soften the blow as she expressed her remorse to Federal Judge Indira Talwani, telling the court that she accepted responsibility for the alleged crimes. Judge Talwani confirmed to Huffman after asking repeatedly that she was sure she wanted to plead guilty, that she has lost a number of rights: gun ownership, voting in many states, and holding office.
Huffman’s court appearance comes a month after the actress agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, a felony. She was among 13 other parents involved in the college admissions scam, code named Operation Varsity Blues by the FBI, that agreed to plead guilty. In exchange for the guilty plea, federal prosecutors are expected to recommend imprisonment at the “low end” of the sentencing range (potentially four months), a $20,000 fine, and 12 months probation. Her sentencing date is September 13, 2019. Husband William H. Macy was not in court with her.
Huffman previously released a statement saying how “ashamed” she was about her behavior. “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,” she said in her statement. “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”
She confessed to giving the $15,000 to the scandal’s ringleader, Rick Singer, in the form of a donation to the fake charity Key Worldwide Foundation. An informant told FBI investigators that the money was used to fake her daughter Sofia Grace Macy‘s SAT answers. The 18-year-old ended up scoring a 1420 out of 1600 on the test — 400 points higher than she did on the PSAT.
Fuller House star Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, have not yet received their sentencing. The couple both pleaded not guilty to allegedly paying $500,000 to fraudulently get their two daughters into USC as part of the rowing team. Fifteen other parents named in the scandal have also pleaded not guilty.