Felicity Huffman Sentenced to 14 Days Behind Bars in College Admissions Scam
Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in May, admitting to accusations she paid to have her daughter's SAT scores falsified
The Desperate Housewives actress, 56, faced Judge Indira Talwani on Friday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Boston. In addition to the 14 days incarceration, the judge fined her $30,000 and said she would be on supervised release for one year. She will also have to do 250 hours of community service.
Huffman arrived in court holding the hand of her husband, William H. Macy. She wore a short-sleeved navy blue dress and low-heeled beige pumps.
She tearfully addressed the judge prior to sentencing, saying, ” I am deeply sorry to the parents, students, colleges and universities who have been impacted by my actions. I am sorry to my daughter Sophia, my daughter Georgia and to my husband Bill. I have betrayed them all.”
While she spoke, Macy’s eyes welled up with tears.
After the sentence was handed down and the hearing concluded, Macy walked over to the defendant’s table and rubbed Huffman’s shoulders and hugged her from behind. Huffman reached up and held his hand. Later, Macy consoled Huffman, twice telling her, “It’s OK.”
She later left the courthouse with Macy and family members without speaking to reporters. The group got into a Chevy Traverse SUV that drove away.
Huffman must begin her incarceration within 60 days, Judge Talwani said. Talwani will recommend where she serves her sentence. Martin Murphy, her attorney, asked Talwani that Huffman serve her time in a Dublin, Calif. correctional institution near her home.
Talwani said Huffman was not among the most egregious offenders in the admissions ring, but stressed, “She knew what she was doing was wrong and did take many steps to facilitate the scheme. She knew it was fraud. Trying to be a good mother doesn’t excuse this.”
Talwani said that if she didn’t sentence Huffman to time behind bars, people would always wonder “why you got away with this.”
Huffman pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Prosecutors had recommended that she serve one month in prison, 12 years of supervised release, and pay a $20,000 fine. Huffman’s lawyers asked that she receive one year of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a $20,000 fine.
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On March 12, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced that it had charged 50 people — including Huffman and fellow actress Lori Loughlin — in the cheating scandal. The two actresses, along with coaches, admissions counselors, parents, and Laughlin’s husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, were indicted on accusations of falsifying SAT scores and lying about their athletic skills, among other alleged crimes. (Loughlin and Giannulli have pleaded not guilty.)
Prosecutors said in a criminal complaint that Huffman paid $15,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes. Singer then facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact.
Huffman discussed the scheme in a phone call with Singer that was recorded by investigators.
In an emotional letter to the judge, Huffman says it was “desperation to be a good mother” that led her to pay $15,000 to fake her daughter’s SAT scores — and she’ll feel “utter shame” for the rest of her life.
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Huffman said that her older daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with learning disabilities at age 8.
“I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” she wrote to the judge of paying Singer to have a proctor change Sophia’s SAT answers after she took the test.
A source previously told PEOPLE Huffman is heartbroken about the pain she has caused her family.
“She is focused right now on repairing her relationships within her family and helping put their lives back together,” the source said. “As a mother and wife, she wants to do everything she can to heal her family.”
“She is willing to pay whatever price she has to pay for breaking the law,” the source continued. “She is committed to making amends to the public and to the educational community and giving back in a substantive way.”