Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday, September 13, to 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores, according to media reports.
Huffman also received a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and one year supervised release, according to federal court Judge Indira Talwani.
The actress said she accepts the “court’s decision today without reservation” in a statement released to the media.
“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,” Huffman said in the statement.
“I was frightened, I was stupid, and I was so wrong,” Huffman, 56, said as she became the first parent sentenced in a college admissions scandal that ensnared dozens of wealthy and well-connected mothers and fathers.
“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,” Huffman said. “My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions.”
US District Judge Indira Talwani noted the outrage the case has generated and added that it “isn’t because people discovered that it isn’t a true meritocracy out there.” The outrage, she said, was because Huffman took steps “to get one more advantage” in a system “already so distorted by money and privilege.”
Felicity Huffman must report to prison on October 25 to serve her 14-day sentence handed down today in federal court.
Where she goes is ultimately up to the Bureau of Prisons and has not been announced.
Huffman’s attorney said in court today that he has requested a facility near Huffman’s California home.
A total of 51 people have been charged in the scheme, the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. Prosecutors said parents schemed to manipulate test scores and bribed coaches to get their children into elite schools by having them labelled as recruited athletes for sports they didn’t even play.
The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared with other bribes alleged in the scheme. Some parents are accused of paying up to $500,000.
Authorities said Huffman’s daughter Sophia got a bump of 400 points from her earlier score on the PSAT, a practice version of the SAT. Prosecutors have not said which colleges her daughter applied to with the fraudulent SAT score.
In a letter this month asking for leniency, Huffman said she turned to the scheme after her daughter’s dreams of going to college and pursuing an acting career were jeopardized by her low math score.
“I honestly didn’t and don’t care about my daughter going to a prestigious college,” Huffman wrote. “I just wanted to give her a shot at being considered for a program where her acting talent would be the deciding factor.”
Prosecutors countered that Huffman was driven by “a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”