Why William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman's Husband, Was Not Charged in College Cheating Scandal
Felicity Huffman is accused of engaging in a conspiracy to donate $15,000 in exchange for help to boost her daughter's SAT scores
In the indictment alleging that actress Felicity Huffman participated in a sprawling college admissions scandal with the intent to benefit her college-bound daughter, one name is prominently absent: her husband, actor William H. Macy.
The Shameless star, 69, is instead identified only as “her spouse” in the document alleging that Huffman engaged in a scheme to donate $15,000 to a company in exchange for its help to fraudulently boost their daughter’s SAT scores, according to the indictment obtained by PEOPLE.
Huffman and another actress, Lori Loughlin, along with Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were among 50 people named on Tuesday in an alleged conspiracy to defraud and undermine competitive student admissions at elite colleges and universities including Yale, Georgetown, the University of Southern California and Stanford, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Late Tuesday, Huffman, 56, was photographed leaving a downtown Los Angeles courthouse following her arrest and after posting a $250,000 bond on charges that she engaged in conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, reports the Associated Press.
Specifically, authorities and the charging document allege that Huffman and Macy aligned with William Singer, a “cooperating witness” in the investigation who runs a college preparatory business and started the Key Worldwide Foundation that accepted the couple’s $15,000 donation.
Singer, who has pleaded guilty to his role in the scandal, met with the couple in their Los Angeles home and allegedly told them a proctor could boost their daughter’s SAT results by secretly correcting any incorrect test answers.
According to the indictment, Singer “advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan.”
After donating the $15,000, the couple received a written response from the foundation assuring the money would “provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.”
The indictment states that, at Singer’s direction, Huffman told her daughter to seek extra time given to students with learning disabilities or other needs to complete the timed test. (It was not stated whether the daughter has any such needs.)
Singer then told Huffman her daughter should take the test in December 2017 observed by a proctor — identified as a “cooperating witness 2” — who was alert to the scheme.
When it looked like a different proctor from her daughter’s school would observe that testing, Huffman sent Singer an email. “Ruh ro!,” she wrote, according to the indictment.
A subsequent change to a different testing site for the daughter allowed the plan to unfold as agreed upon.
Compared to the results of the daughter’s earlier Preliminary SAT exam completed without any suggestion of cheating, the indictment states, “Ultimately, Huffman’s daughter received a score of 1420 on the SAT, an improvement of approximately 400 points over her PSAT, taken without CW-2 one year earlier.”
The document does not state whether the daughter knew of the plan, or had been admitted to any particular college or university on the basis of those elevated results.
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Huffman and Macy allegedly discussed with Singer a similar scenario to involve their younger daughter, according to conversations excerpted in the indictment, but backed off and decided she should take the test first to see how well she did.
Emails and recorded conversations cited in the indictment show that Macy participated only in conversations about the second daughter, and not in the plan that was carried out, perhaps explaining the lack of evidence required for a criminal charge.
PEOPLE was unable to reach a representative for Huffman and Macy.
Huffman’s next preliminary court hearing is scheduled for March 29 at a Boston court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The mother of two and her husband allegedly gave $500,000 so that her daughter, Olivia Jade, would be portrayed as a desirable college athletic recruit as a member of a rowing team when that was not true, the indictment states.
The documents allege that Loughlin — best known for her role as Aunt Becky on the sitcom Full House — and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC.”
Loughlin’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. The actress’ rep had no comment.