Former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was sentenced Friday to 14 days in prison for her involvement in the nationwide college admissions bribery scandal that ensnared wealthy parents, business executives and coaches.
“I am sorry to you, Judge [Indira] Talwani,” said Huffman, during the sentencing hearing. “As a federal judge you represent our country’s legal system and the laws I have broken. I am deeply sorry to the students, parents, colleges and universities impacted by my actions.”
Along with her jail time, Huffman was sentenced to a year of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine.
Huffman was charged earlier this year along with about 30 other parents for taking part in the admissions scheme. She was also among about a dozen who pleaded guilty in May, admitting to paying to help boost her daughter’s test scores. She is the first of the parents to be sentenced.
Prosecutors recommended a month in prison, along with supervised release and a $20,000 fine. Huffman agreed to the fine prior to Friday’s hearing, but she was also asking for probation and 250 hours of community service in lieu of jail time.
“The defendant must go to the jail for one month,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said, noting that one month was less than what prosecutors were recommending for most of the other parents who pleaded guilty. “There is simply no excuse for what she did.”
Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty in March, operated two cheating scams for wealthy families where he facilitated bribes for help on the SAT or ACT exams, or for bribes to college coaches to designate their children as student-athletes.
Singer also operated a third scam that allegedly allowed the wealthy parents to launder their bribes as charitable donations to his own nonprofit.
Huffman admitted to paying $15,000 to Singer’s agent to correct her daughter’s SAT scores, allowing her to boost her score by about 400 points, to 1420, according to the original affidavit released when the cheating scandal went public.
Huffman’s husband, actor William H. Macy, was not charged.
The Emmy-winning actress noted, while submitting her plea, that her daughter was not aware that she paid a bribe to improve the SAT score.
As part of the cheating scheme, Huffman convinced her daughter’s psychologist to help her get accommodations for the SAT exam, including extra time and a one-on-one examination, which helped facilitate having Singer’s agent correct her test score.
Huffman clarified during her plea hearing that the psychologist had no knowledge their recommendation was part of a cheating scam.