- BBC News World
What is considered the largest education fraud scandal in the history of the United States experienced a new chapter on Monday.
One of the main defendants, American actress Felicity Huffman, appeared visibly affected before a court in Boston, Massachusetts, where she pleaded guilty to fraudulent conspiracy to secure a place in an elite university for her daughter.
The star of films such as “Transamerica” or the television series Desperate Housewives (“Desperate Wives”) admitted to paying $ 15,000 to have her daughter’s answers altered on the 2017 college entrance exam.
The actress was facing a possible 20-year prison sentence, but after reaching an agreement, the prosecution requested four months in jail and a fine of US $ 20,000 for Huffman.
The Hollywood star did not speak to the press when he reached the audience on Monday with his brother, Moore Huffman.
According to reporters present in the courtroom, the Emmy Award-winning actress cried as she testified before the judge,
As early as last month, Huffman said in a statement that he fully accepts his guilt.
“This transgression towards her [su hija] and the public will carry it with me for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse for breaking the law or being dishonest, “she declared at the time.
Operation Varsity Blues
The 56-year-old actress is among 50 people charged in the “Varsity Blues” operation that uncovered a grand scheme of fraud and bribery for the college admissions of children of the rich and famous.
The parents involved in the investigation are accused of having paid bribes, tampering with exams and even editing photographs to make their children appear as sports stars in various disciplines.
In this way they fraudulently secured places for their teenage children at elite US universities such as Yale, Georgetown and Stanford, among others.
What was Huffman’s role
According to court documents, Huffman was secretly taped by the confessed mastermind of the fraud, William Singer, when he began collaborating with investigators.
Singer handled the scams through his company Edge College & Career Network, a college prep business.
The indictment alleges that Singer helped Huffman falsify the SAT (the US college entrance test) test for his eldest daughter, Sophia Macy.
When Sophia’s school wanted to supervise the young woman while she took the test, Huffman wrote Singer an email saying, “Ruh Ro!” – the catchphrase that the dog in the comic Scooby-Doo used when he got into a car. mess.
Singer arranged for Sophia to complete the exam elsewhere.
The young woman got a rating of 1420 out of 1600 possible points on the manipulated test, about 400 points more than a preliminary SAT he took a year earlier.
The actress took steps to cheat a second time with her youngest daughter, but ultimately decided against it, according to prosecutors.
Huffman stated that his daughter was unaware of the deception and said he feels “regret and shame” for having “betrayed” her.
The actress will receive sentence on September 13th.
Last month, the content platform Netflix postponed the premiere of the film Otherhood, starring Huffman, scheduled for April 26. No new release date was specified.
Although Huffman is one of the highest-profile figures in the scandal, the $ 15,000 he paid is one of the smallest amounts allegedly paid by any of the other parents charged in the scandal, according to legal documents.
Lori Loughlin, another Hollywood actress implicated in the scandal along with her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty to paying $ 500,000 in bribes to have her daughters accepted into the University of Southern California as part of the rowing team. .
The US authorities stated that this is the largest research on issues of education in the history of the Department of Justice: It involved more than 200 officers and led to the arrest of 50 people in six states.
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