Felicity Huffman sentenced to 14 days in prison for 'Varsity Blues' college scam
Prosecutors sought a month's incarceration for the "Desperate Housewives" star.
"Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman has been sentenced to 14 days in prison for federal crimes stemming from the massive "Varsity Blues" college entrance scam.
Huffman also will have to pay a $30,000 fine, complete 250 hours of community service and serve one year of probation.
She is due to self-report to a yet-to-be-determined Bureau of Prisons facility Oct. 25.
Huffman, 56, learned her fate Friday and issued a statement shortly thereafter, accepting the judge's decision.
"I accept the court's decision today without reservation," she said in the statement. "I have always been prepared to accept whatever punishment Judge Talwani imposed. I broke the law. I have admitted that and I pleaded guilty to this crime. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period.
"I would like to apologize again to my daughter, my husband, my family and the educational community for my actions. And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children."
"I have learned a lot over the last six months about my flaws as a person," she added. "My goal now is to serve the sentence that the court has given me. I look forward to doing my community service hours and making a positive impact on my community. I also plan to continue making contributions wherever I can well after those service hours are completed. I can promise you that in the months and years to come that I will try and live a more honest life, serve as a better role model for my daughters and family and continue to contribute my time and energies wherever I am needed. My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions."
Before announcing her decision, Judge Indira Talwani said she was not punishing Huffman -- and won’t punish the other parents either -- for a flawed college admissions process. Instead, the judge focused on why there is such a sense of outrage surrounding the case, saying that it is because the system is already so distorted and that Huffman took the step of obtaining one more advantage to put her child ahead of others.
Huffman read a statement in front of the court apologizing to the judge, students and the colleges and universities. She then tearfully apologized to her two daughters and husband for betraying them.
Huffman told the court that her daughter has asked her why she didn’t believe in her. Tearfully, she said “I was frightened. I was stupid and I was wrong. I have inflicted more damage than I could ever imagine.”
"I take full responsibility for my actions. I am prepared to take whatever sentence you give me,” Huffman told the court.
Earlier this month, Huffman's lawyers filed papers asking Talwani to not send the Oscar-nominated actress to prison, writing that "nothing about her history and characteristics require a prison sentence."
Huffman's lawyers had asked Talwani to impose a one-year probation term, 250 hours of community service and a $20,000 fine. But federal prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Huffman to one month of incarceration, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.
"She is remorseful -- indeed, deeply ashamed -- about what she did," Huffman's lawyers stated in court documents.
On March 13, a federal indictment was unsealed with charges for 50 people, including Huffman and more than 30 other wealthy parents, in the largest college cheating scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges the parents paid bribes to William "Rick" Singer, a college-entrance tutor guru whom prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the nationwide scam, to get their children into elite colleges, including Stanford, the University of Southern California, Princeton and Georgetown.
Singer, 59, who prosecutors said collected $25 million in bribes during the years-long scam, pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He's yet to be sentenced.
Also indicted was actress Lori Loughlin -- best known as Aunt Becky on the sitcom "Full House" -- and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, who are fighting charges they paid Singer $500,000 to get their two daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella, into USC as recruits for the university's crew team, despite the fact they'd never participated in the sport.
Huffman pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest service mail fraud and admitted that she paid Singer $15,000 to falsify her daughter Sophia's SAT score.
"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 the consequences that stem from those actions," Huffman tearfully said as she pleaded guilty in court on May 13.
Huffman's lawyers presented Talwani with letters vouching for her character from the actress' relatives, including her husband, actor William H. Macy, and former colleagues such as Eva Longoria, a fellow cast member on "Desperate Housewives."
Huffman and Macy later allegedly made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for their younger daughter, before deciding not to do so, according to court documents. Macy was not charged in the scam.
"To be sure, Felicity's relationship with her daughters exploded on March 12th and rebuilding that relationship will be a long process. But I also want you to know Felicity has raised two amazing young women," Macy wrote in his letter to Talwani.
"After her arrest Felicity found a wonderful family therapist and we've all been going (in various combinations) for the last few months," Macy wrote. "There is much to be done, and some of the hurt and anger will take years to work through, but we are making progress."