Friday 24 May 2019

Actress Felicity Huffman faces prison sentence over role in college admissions cheating scam


Felicity Huffman. Photo: Reuters
Felicity Huffman. Photo: Reuters

Rachael Alexander

Actress Felicity Huffman has pleaded guilty to allegations she paid $15,000 (€13,300) to rig her daughter's SAT score as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme.

The 'Desperate Housewives' star entered her plea in Boston federal court two months after she was arrested in the case named 'Operation Varsity Blues', which accused wealthy parents of paying bribes to help their children get into elite universities.

Huffman (56) is among 14 parents who have agreed to plead guilty to charges in the case. Authorities have called it the biggest college admissions cheating scandal ever prosecuted in the US, ensnaring Hollywood stars and business executives as well as coaches at such prestigious schools as Georgetown and Yale.

The parents are accused of paying an admissions consultant to bribe coaches in exchange for helping their children get into school as athletic recruits. The consultant, Rick Singer, also paid off entrance exam administrators to allow a proctor to take tests for students or fix their answers, authorities say.

Huffman paid Singer $15,000 to have a proctor correct her older daughter's SAT answers and considered going through with the plan for her younger daughter before deciding not to.

Huffman has apologised and said her daughter was unaware. "I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions," she said.

Huffman has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Prosecutors have said they will seek between four and 10 months in prison. Because Huffman agreed to plead guilty, prosecutors have promised to recommend a sentence at the low end of that range, but the judge could choose not to send her to prison.

Irish Independent

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