Actress Felicity Huffman appeared in court in Boston Monday morning to plead guilty to fraud conspiracy charges in connection with the college admissions scandal that has dominated recent headlines. Huffman has admitted to paying $15,000 to William Rick Singer in an attempt to raise her daughter's SAT score.
Huffman's guilty plea comes after negotiations with prosecutors, who have recommended the lower end of sentencing guidelines which call for four to ten months in prison. Huffman will also face a $20,000 fine.
Huffman's attorneys have also reserved the right to argue her sentence be calculated at a lower range than proposed by the prosecution. If successful, Huffman could receive a sentence of six months on the higher end; or, no sentence at all. The judge is not required to abide by sentencing recommendations from the prosecution, and Huffman has given up the right to challenge her conviction and sentence by pleading guilty.
Thirty-three parents have been charged thus far in the scheme, which involves prestigious schools such as Harvard, Georgetown, and USC. Huffman participated in a scheme orchestrated by Singer, in which he would arrange for Huffman's daughter to receive extra time in which to take the SAT and have her exam proctored by an accomplice, Mark Riddell, who would correct Huffman's daughter's answers after she finished the test.
Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, agreed to Singer's proposal and paid him $15,000 to complete it. Singer secured extra time for Huffman's daughter on the SAT because of a learning disability, which allowed her to take the exam proctored by Riddell at a school of Singer's choosing. Huffman's daughter took the SAT in December 2017. Once Riddell had corrected her answers and scored her tests, she scored 400 points higher than when she took the PSATs a year earlier.
Los Angeles resident Devin Sloane also pleaded guilty this morning in the same Boston court. According to court documents, Sloane and Singer conspired to pass Sloane's son off as a water polo player, going as far as ordering a water polo cap and ball on Amazon in June 2017; and, after taking pictures of his son wearing the gear, hired a graphic designer to photoshop his son's face and torso onto an image of a genuine water polo match. Sloane's son was admitted to USC shortly thereafter.
Actress Lori Loughlin is also among those facing charges, but unlike Huffman, Loughlin has entered a not guilty plea. Loughlin allegedly believes the charges are a "misunderstanding" and doesn't believe she will face jail time. Loughlin is accused of paying Singer to have her two daughters recruited to the USC crew team, despite neither girl having rowing experience.
Huffman will be sentenced September 13th. Loughlin's trial date has not yet been set.
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