Sept. 6 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts lowered their recommended sentence for actor Felicity Huffman to one month on Friday for her guilty plea in a college admissions scandal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said the court should sentence her to one month in prison followed by one year of supervised release and a $20,000 fine.
In May, Huffman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for agreeing to pay William “Rick” Singer, the accused mastermind of the scheme, thousands of dollars to help her daughter with her college admissions process.
At the time, Rosen recommended a four-month prison sentence.Court documents indicate Huffman paid $15,000 to Singer to arrange to have her daughter take the SAT exam at a facility where a proctor would correct her answers to improve her score.
“Huffman’s conduct was deliberate and manifestly criminal: it was wrong, she knew it was wrong, and she actively participated in manipulating her daughter’s guidance counselor, the testing services and the schools to which her daughter applied,” a sentencing memorandum filed Friday said.
“Her efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”
Huffman’s attorneys requested the judge sentence her to no prison time, and instead asked that she serve one year of probation and 250 hours of community service, and pay a $20,000 fine.
The “Desperate Housewives” actor’s husband, Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy, was not charged in the scheme.
In a statement released in April, Huffman said she had “deep regret and shame” over her actions, and she plans to accept responsibility for her crime.
“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,” she said.
Huffman said she “betrayed” her daughter, who had no knowledge of the scheme.
“This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life,” Huffman said. “My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty.”
Huffman was one of 50 people implicated in the scheme, dubbed Varsity Blues, in which prospective students paid for unlawful help with standardized test or paid bribes to be designated as student-athletes for sports they didn’t play.
Among the accused was another actor, Lori Loughlin, who allegedly paid $500,000 to help her two daughters gain acceptance to the University of Southern California through its rowing team.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty in April. They each face up to 20 years in prison.