News and Commentary

Felicity Huffman Gets Prison Time For College Admissions Scandal
Felicity Huffman arrives with her husband William H. Macy at John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse in Boston on Sept. 13, 2019.
Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Friday, actress Felicity Huffman, best known for her role in “Desperate Housewives,” was finally given her sentence for her role in a massive college admissions bribery scandal — and it includes some prison time.

While prosecutors recommended that Huffman spend a full month behind bars and pay a $20,000 fine, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ordered the actress serve to about half of the recommended prison sentence, but tacked on 50% more on the fine.

Huffman was sentenced Friday to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service, and one year of supervised release, CBS Boston reported.

While Huffman’s legal team pushed for a year probation and a lesser fine, prosecutors argued that anything less than prison time would mean little to someone so wealthy, and whose “large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool” would hardly make home arrest very uncomfortable, CBS notes.

“The ‘Desperate Housewives’ actress held hands with her husband, actor William H. Macy, as her brother followed the couple into federal court in Boston,” the outlet reports. “She didn’t speak to reporters on her way in for sentencing after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy and fraud in May.”

Huffman was one of nearly three-dozen parents caught in an FBI investigation, appropriately codenamed “Operation Varsity Blues,” which uncovered widespread college admissions-related fraud.

After being arrested on March 12, 2019, Huffman was charged with paying $15,000 to “admission consultant” Rick Singer in order to “improve” her oldest daughter’s SAT scores in 2017.

Prosecutors say that Huffman’s $15,000 donation in 2017 to Key Worldwide Foundation, for which Singer was listed as President and CEO, was in fact payment to arrange for someone else to take the SAT for Huffman’s duaghter. In April, she agreed to plead guilty to one count of “conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.”

The Key Worldwide Foundation website describes itself as a nonprofit which “endeavours to provide education that would normally be unattainable to underprivileged students, not only attainable but realistic programs that are designed to assist young people in everyday situations, and educational situations.” The organization says its “contributions to major athletic university programs, may help to provide placement to students that may not have access under normal channel.”

But as NBC Bay Area reported in March, a federal investigation found that the organization “used payments from wealthy donors to hide large sums of money given to universities as part of the overall scheme to bribe college coaches and other officials as part of the largest college admissions scam federal officials say they’ve seen to date.” Singer pleaded guilty to the charges in March.

Huffman was the first of the 34 parents charged in the bribery scheme. “Over the next two months, nearly a dozen other parents are scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty,” CBS noted Friday. While 15 of the parents have pleaded guilty, the other 19 are fighting the charges, including fellow actress, Lori Loughlin, famous for her role in “Full House.”

Related: Reports: Here’s How Lori Loughlin And Mossimo Are Going To Defend Themselves In Bribery Case