Felicity Huffman and 13 other defendants pleaded guilty in the “Varsity Blues” college-admissions scandal, the Justice Department announced on Monday.
The “Desperate Housewives” star agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud for paying $15,000 to Rick Singer, the facilitator of the scam, to pay someone else to cheat on a college entrance exam for her eldest daughter.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the educational community,” Huffman said in a statement. “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.”
The 14 guilty pleas the Justice Department announced include the two parents who pleaded guilty last week, Peter Sartorio and Gordon Caplan. Singer and Rudy Meredith, the women’s soccer coach at Yale University, have also pleaded guilty.
Lori Loughlin, another celebrity charged in the case, has maintained her innocence. Loughlin lost her role on “Fuller House” and her deal with the Hallmark Channel. She was criticized on Thursday for signing autographs before a court hearing for the case.
A total of 50 people were charged, including parents, college-athletics coaches, and people working in school administration and the college-admissions industry. In addition to cheating on entrance exams, part of the scheme also included admitting students by fabricating their credentials for college-athletics teams.
All of the defendants who improperly took tax breaks for their bribes also agreed to pay back taxes, the Justice Department said.
The charge Huffman pleaded guilty to carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing has not been scheduled yet.
In her statement, Huffman said her daughter wasn’t aware that she arranged someone to cheat for her.
“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.”
SOURCE: Insider – Jacob Shamsian