Felicity Huffman, 13 others to plead guilty in college admissions scandal – NBCNews.com
Actress Felicity Huffman is among 14 defendants in the college admissions scandal who are expected to plead guilty, according to the Department of Justice.
Huffman, who starred in the ABC hit show “Desperate Housewives,” admitted to paying $15,000 to get her older daughter extra time for her SAT test and to have a proctor administer the test and correct the answers.
Huffman’s husband, William H. Macy, was not charged in the FBI investigation.
Huffman said in a statement Monday that she accepted full responsibility for her actions and would accept the consequences.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community,” Huffman said. “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.”
The actress also said that her daughter “knew absolutely nothing” about her deal with Singer and that she “betrayed” her child.
“This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life,” Huffman said.
The FBI probe exposed a network of wealthy parents who allegedly paid the scheme’s organizer, William Rick Singer, millions of dollars to boost their children’s chances of getting into selective colleges and universities such as Yale, Georgetown and Stanford.
Huffman and Singer arranged to have her daughter take the SAT at a center where one of Singer’s proctors would oversee the test and change answers. Huffman’s daughter, who had also been granted extra time to complete the exam, got a 400-point increase in her score, according to an affidavit.
The actress then “donated” $15,000 to the Key Worldwide Foundation, a nonprofit organization Singer started in 2012 and which was purported to be a charity.
Singer pleaded guilty last month to charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice.
Huffman agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, according to federal prosecutors.
The maximum sentence for those charges is 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release and fines.
However, since there were no other charges with the fraud and no violent crime involved, it is doubtful that Huffman will spend anywhere near 20 years in prison.
A plea hearing date has not yet been set.
Huffman’s deal comes as 12 other parents and one coach also agreed to enter a guilty plea.
Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson, two other parents were who were charged several weeks ago are also pleading guilty in a separate information and they are now cooperating in the ongoing investigation into the admissions scandal scheme.
Michael Center, the former head coach of men’s tennis at the University of Texas at Austin, also agreed to plead guilty after accepting $60,000 in cash from Singer personally and then an additional $40,000 directed to the university’s tennis program.
In exchange, Center designated the child of one of Singer’s clients as a tennis recruit.
All of the defendants who improperly took tax deductions for the bribe payments have agreed to cooperate with the IRS to pay back taxes.
Huffman appeared in court in Boston on Wednesday, along with fellow actress Lori Loughlin who is also charged in the scandal. Neither of the women entered pleas at that time and the separate appearances before the judge lasted only minutes.
Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer, Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 to bolster their two daughters’ chances of gaining admission to the University of Southern California. Both daughters were still enrolled at the school as of late March.
The Hallmark Channel fired Loughlin two days after the scandal broke, cancelling her upcoming projects and removing her completed work from their service. Loughlin’s daughter,Olivia Jade Giannulli, also lost her collaboration deal with beauty retailer Sephora.
Loughlin was released on a $1 million bond last month in which a judge ordered her to surrender the passport by Dec 1, 2019, unless she obtains a court order to let her keep it for legitimate work-related travel.
The “Full House” actress was not included in Monday’s list of parents who agreed to the deal and her case remains ongoing.