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‘I was stupid’: Huffman gets 14 days in college scam

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    Felicity Huffman leaves federal court with her brother Moore Huffman Jr. after she was sentenced in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal on Friday in Boston. AP PHOTO/MICHAEL DWYER

Published September 16. 2019 10:06AM

BOSTON (AP) — “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was sentenced Friday to 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT scores, tearfully apologizing to the teenager for not trusting her to get into college on her own.

“I was frightened, I was stupid, and I was so wrong,” Huffman, 56, said as she became the first parent sentenced in a college admissions scandal that ensnared dozens of wealthy and well-connected mothers and fathers.

The scandal exposed the lengths to which parents will go to get their children into the “right” schools and reinforced suspicions that the college admissions process is slanted toward the rich.

In sentencing Huffman, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani noted the outrage the case has generated, adding that it “isn’t because people discovered that it isn’t a true meritocracy out there.” The outrage, she said, was because Huffman took steps “to get one more advantage” in a system “already so distorted by money and privilege.”

Prosecutors had sought a month in prison for Huffman, while her lawyers said she should get probation.

A total of 51 people have been charged in the scheme, the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. Prosecutors said parents schemed to manipulate test scores and bribed coaches to get their children into elite schools by having them labeled as recruited athletes for sports they didn’t even play.

Huffman paid $15,000 to boost her older daughter’s SAT scores with the help of William “Rick” Singer, an admission consultant at the center of the scheme. Singer, who has pleaded guilty, allegedly bribed a test proctor to correct the teenager’s answers. Huffman pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiracy and fraud as part of a deal with prosecutors.

The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared with other bribes alleged in the scheme. Some parents are accused of paying up to $500,000.

Huffman must report for her prison sentence in six weeks. She also must pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.

“I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions,” Huffman said in an emailed statement after the sentencing hearing. “And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children.”

In arguing for incarceration, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen told the judge that prosecutors had no reason to doubt the rationale Huffman offered — her fears and insecurities as a parent — for taking part in the scheme.

“But with all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,” Rosen said. “Parenthood is terrifying, exhausting and stressful, but that’s what every parent goes through. … What parenthood does not do, it does not make you a felon, it does not make you cheat, in fact it makes you want to serve as a positive role model for your children.”

Huffman’s lawyer Martin Murphy argued that her crimes were less serious than those of her co-defendants and noted that she did not enlist her daughter in the scheme. The actress has said her daughter was unaware of the arrangement.

The case is seen as an indicator of what’s in store for other defendants. Over the next two months, nearly a dozen other parents are scheduled to be sentenced. Fifteen parents have pleaded guilty, while 19 are fighting the charges.

Among those contesting the charges are “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused of paying to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake athletes.

Former Stanford University sailing coach John Vandemoer is the only other person sentenced so far and received a day in prison. He admitted helping students get into Stanford as recruited athletes in exchange for $270,000 for his sailing program.

Authorities said Huffman’s daughter Sophia got a bump of 400 points from her earlier score on the PSAT, a practice version of the SAT. Prosecutors have not said which colleges her daughter applied to with the fraudulent SAT score.

Huffman’s husband, actor William H. Macy, was not charged.

Comments
This little slap on the hand of this snob gives a message to all of our young people. It's OK to cheat, lie, and manipulate among these elites. Bumping the standards isn't good folks. This is a big deal. But, hey, it's only Stanford, an Ivy wanna be, and it's stinking, sinking sailing department.
The message is very clear! don't try to get away with what republicans get away with every day. No one has the cheating skills of a retarded, inbred republican.
DO (T2C formerly expelled from here for vulgar language) Hollywood celebrities are all liberals. If you fail to realize that, you need more help than what is obvious here. I think, DO, that you have extreme mental dysfunction. You are a rude vulgar punk that is envious of Republicans. Republicans are better than you. Years of continuous failures to Republicans have instilled hatred and low self esteem in you. Republicans own you.

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