A federal judge in Massachusetts sentenced “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman on Friday to 14 days in prison and one year of supervised release over her involvement in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal.
Huffman must also pay a $30,000 fine and complete 250 hours of community service. She is the first to be sentenced of the 15 parents who plead guilty in the Varsity Blues case.
Prosecutors say the actress paid admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT scores. The payment was made in 2018 as a donation to a fabricated charity that Singer crafted to fabricate student test scores and bribe officials from various universities.
Huffman’s case only concerns falsified test scores. She was not involved in fraudulent applications through USC’s athletic departments and has no specific connection to USC admissions, unlike “Fuller House” actress Lori Loughlin, who has plead not guilty and faces up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors initially argued for Huffman to serve a month in prison in addition to paying a $20,000 fine. Huffman’s lawyers asked for one year’s probation, 250 community service hours and a $20,000 fine.
Huffman submitted a three-page letter to the court explaining her involvement in the scandal. The letter detailed her daughter’s history with learning disabilities, Huffman’s interactions with Mr. Singer and remorse over her actions.
“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” she wrote. “I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter, and failed my family.”
“Trying to be a good mother doesn’t excuse this,” said presiding Judge Indira Talwani in court.
Over 50 individuals, including 33 parents, have been charged in the Varsity Blues case.
The scandal details the efforts made by wealthy parents, athletic officials and coaches to influence elite college admissions decisions. Parents allegedly paid Singer thousands of dollars to rig test scores and lie about students’ academic and athletic achievements. Many top universities are involved in the scandal including USC, Yale and Stanford.
Correction: This article initially stated that, “The [Varsity Blues] scandal details the efforts made by wealthy parents, athletic directors and admissions officers to influence elite college admissions decisions." This piece has since been updated to say, “The scandal details the efforts made by wealthy parents, athletic officials and coaches to influence elite college admissions decisions.”