×

Felicity Huffman to Plead Guilty in College Admissions Case

Actress Felicity Huffman and a dozen other parents will plead guilty in the college admissions scandal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on Monday.

Huffman was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. According to the criminal complaint, she paid $15,000 to admissions consultant William Singer in order to boost her older daughter’s SAT score.

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” Huffman said in a statement. “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”

A plea hearing has not been scheduled. In the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicates that it believes the sentence should fall on the “low end” of a range between four and 10 months. The defense believes the appropriate range should be zero to six months, and it is possible she will not serve any prison time. Prosecutors will also ask for 12 months of supervised release and restitution.

Among those who have also agreed to plead guilty are Jane Buckingham, a marketing CEO accused of paying $50,000 to boost her son’s ACT score; Stephen Semprevivo, who is accused of paying a $400,000 bribe to have his son admitted to Georgetown as a tennis recruit; and Michael Center, the former head tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin, who is accused of taking a bribe to get a student into the school.

Huffman was arrested on March 12 and released on a $250,000 bond. She made a court appearance in Boston last Wednesday.

Huffman was one of 33 parents charged in the scandal, which has rocked the world of elite college admissions. Singer agreed to cooperate with investigators and has pleaded guilty, admitting to bribing coaches and testing officials to gain an advantage for his wealthy clients.

According to the complaint, Huffman arranged to have her daughter take the SAT at the West Hollywood Test Center, which Singer controlled. Huffman was also able to obtain extra time for her daughter to take the test. Singer admitted to hiring a proctor to correct answers on students’ exams. Huffman’s daughter got a 1420 on the test, a 400 point improvement on her PSAT result.

Huffman’s husband, actor William H. Macy, was not charged in the case. However, the charging documents indicate that Macy “agreed to the plan.” The couple made a $15,000 “donation” to Singer’s charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, in February 2018.

The charging documents indicate that Huffman and Macy discussed a similar arrangement with Singer for their younger daughter, but ultimately decided not to pursue it.

In her statement, Huffman said her older daughter was unaware that her score had been altered.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her,” she said. “This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, also face charges for allegedly paying a $500,000 bribe to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California. Loughlin was dropped by the Hallmark Channel after the scandal broke.

Bill McGlashan, a founding partner of TPG Growth, was forced out of the firm. McGlashan is accused of paying a bribe to get his son admitted as a football player, though his high school did not even have a football team.

The full list of 14 people — 13 parents and one coach — who agreed Monday to plead guilty:

Gregory and Marcia Abbott, New York. Accused of paying $125,000 to get fraudulent ACT and SAT scores.
Jane Buckingham, Beverly Hills. Accused of paying $50,000 for a false ACT score.
Gordon Caplan, Greenwich, Conn. Accused of paying $75,000 to boost his daughter’s ACT score.
Michael Center, Austin, Tex. Former University of Texas at Austin tennis coach accused of taking a $100,000 bribe, of which $40,000 went to the tennis program, to get a student admitted as a recruit.
Robert Flaxman, Laguna Beach, Calif. Accused of paying $75,000 for a fake ACT score.
Felicity Huffman, Los Angeles. “Desperate Housewives” actress accused of paying $15,000 for a fraudulent SAT score.
Agustin Huneeus Jr., San Francisco. Accused of paying $300,000 to get his daughter into USC as a water polo recruit.
Bruce and Davina Isackson, Hillsborough, Calif. Accused of paying $600,000 to get their daughters into UCLA and USC using false athletic profiles.
Marjorie Klapper, Menlo Park, Calif. Accused of paying $15,000 to get a boost on a standardized test for her son.
Peter Jan Sartorio, Menlo Park, Calif. Accused of paying $15,000 for a false ACT score.
Stephen Semprevivo, Los Angeles. Accused of paying $400,000 to get his son into Georgetown as a tennis recruit.
Devin Sloane, Los Angeles. Accused of paying $250,000 to get his son into USC as a water polo recruit.

More Biz

  • Eddie Vedder addresses the crowd during

    Congressman Rejects Pearl Jam’s Criticism of BOSS Ticket-Reform Act

    New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., the principal sponsor of the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing (BOSS Act) designed to reform the live-events ticket market, today rejected Pearl Jam’s call to reject the bill. Calling the bill “flawed,” the group said in a letter yesterday that it “blocks non-transferable ticketing” [...]

  • UK Producers Roundtable co-founder Loran Dunn

    Why the U.K.'s Struggling Indie Film Business Is Only Getting Tougher

    A startling one-two punch of new statistics from the British Film Institute and industry body U.K. Producers’ Roundtable have revealed the stark challenges facing the country’s independent filmmakers.  After a BFI study published in late January revealed that spending on U.K. independent film production fell by 45% to £175 million ($228 million) in 2019, a [...]

  • TV Decline Pay TV Placeholder

    Traditional Pay-TV Operators Lost 6 Million Subscribers in 2019 as Cord-Cutting Picks Up Speed

    The U.S. satellite and cable TV business declined at an unprecedented rate last year — with traditional pay-TV providers dropping a staggering 6 million customers, a 7% year-over-year decline. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, traditional TV distributors lost around 1.5 million subs, dropping to about 83 million total at year-end, according to estimates [...]

  • A+E Networks Renews Focus on Lifetime

    Listen: How A+E Networks Bucked the Trend and Fell Back in Love With Lifetime Movies

    In an era of overflowing choice, focus is more important than ever for traditional television executives. On the latest episode of Variety podcast Strictly Business, A+E Networks’ president of programming Rob Sharenow discusses how the cable giant pulled its flagship brands out of the ratings trenches over the past two years, thanks in large part [...]

  • Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein arrives

    Harvey Weinstein Jury Wants to Hear Rosie Perez's Testimony Again

    The jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial asked on Wednesday afternoon to re-hear the testimony of Rosie Perez, and asked to see several exhibits, including emails involving Annabella Sciorra. Perez testified on Jan. 24 that Sciorra confided in her in the early 1990s that Weinstein had raped her. Perez said she advised her friend to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content