US admissions scam: Actor Felicity Huffman sentenced to 14 days in prison

Actor Felicity Huffman was on Friday sentenced to 14 days in prison in the first punishment handed out to a parent in the admissions scandal in the United States, Reuters reported. Huffman, who starred in the television show Desperate Housewives, had admitted in April that she paid $15,000 to a fake charity to facilitate cheating for her daughter in the SAT entrance examinations.

A district court ordered Huffman to pay a fine of $30,000, undergo a year of supervised release and complete 250 hours of community service. She was asked to report to prison on October 25.

In a statement, Huffman apologised to the “students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children”. “My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions,” she said.

The 56-year-old actor said her daughter was unaware of the scheme until her arrest on March 12. In a letter to the judge, she said: “My daughter looked at me and asked with tears streaming down her face, ‘Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?’ … I have compromised my daughter’s future, the wholeness of my family and my own integrity.”

The school that Huffman’s daughter wanted to go to had rescinded its acceptance letter after she was arrested. Huffman’s husband, actor William H Macy, said their daughter “certainly paid the dearest price”.

Prosecutors had recommended a one-month sentence after Huffman had pleaded guilty in May.

As many as 50 people were charged in the scam, including 33 parents, two SAT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite US schools and one college administrator. Federal prosecutors said this is the biggest fraud of its kind ever. Actor Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, have also been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Singer, who pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice, was paid up to $6.5 million by parents to get their children into elite universities.

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