Actress Felicity Huffman will plead guilty in the college admissions fraud scandal, prosecutors said Monday, becoming the most widely known figure to admit wrongdoing in the investigation.
According to prosecutors, Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, paid William Singer, the college consultant at the center of the case, $15,000 to cheat on her older daughter’s SAT. Macy has not been charged.
Prosecutors said Monday that 12 other parents and one coach had also agreed to plead guilty in the case.
Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were also charged in the case and have not yet indicated whether they will plead guilty or fight the charges. The government has said the couple conspired with Singer to pay $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as recruits to the women’s crew team, even though neither actually rowed crew.
It was not clear what effect Huffman’s acknowledgment of guilt would have on her career. She has roles in several coming movies and television series, including playing prosecutor Linda Fairstein in the miniseries “When They See Us” about the so-called Central Park Five, five black and Hispanic teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in 1989.
Huffman was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but it was unclear how much, if any, time Huffman would receive. Sentences in the college admissions case may be affected in part by how much money each parent is alleged to have paid to Singer and others as part of the scheme. Huffman’s payment of $15,000 was among the smallest, according to court documents.
The Justice Department charged 50 people in the case. Those charged included parents, coaches and test administrators for the SAT and ACT. Prosecutors have said Singer bribed the test administrators to allow cheating on the college entrance exams and bribed the coaches to designate his clients’ children as recruits to teams for which they were not actually qualified.
On Monday, two other parents, Bruce and Davina Isackson of Hillsborough, California, issued a statement expressing regret and saying they were cooperating with prosecutors. Davina Isackson’s lawyer said they both intended to plead guilty.