Almost a month after federal authorities formally charged numerous parents and college sports coaches for collaborating to get prospective students into elite universities by fabricating test scores and athletic backgrounds, actress Felicity Huffman and other defendants have announced their intent to plead guilty to mail fraud charges.
“I am pleading guilty to the charge brought against me by the United States Attorney’s office,” the Desperate Housewives and American Crime actress said in a statement. “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 consequences that stem from those actions.”
Many have speculated how much the students involved knew about this cheating scheme. In her statement, Huffman defends her daughter’s innocence: “My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression towards 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.”
In addition to Huffman, 10 other parents also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Lori Loughlin, the Full House actress who has also been at the forefront of headlines surrounding the scandal, was not among them. She and her husband Mossimo Giannulli (who was also indicted, unlike Huffman’s husband William H. Macy) have not yet entered pleas.
According to court documents, Huffman agreed to pay $15,000 to William Rick Singer, whose Key Worldwide Foundation (KWF) hired various people to take tests on behalf of students who had falsified medical forms saying they needed extra time to take their ACT/SAT tests individually. Singer has been cooperating with the government’s investigation (nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues). Huffman and the other defendants pleading guilty have agreed to cooperate with the IRS to pay back taxes they improperly deducted from KWF’s status as a nonprofit.
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