Felicity Huffman and 12 Wealthy Parents Plead Guilty in College Admission Scam

(CNN) — Thirteen wealthy parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, and a sports coach will plead guilty to using bribes and other forms of fraud as part of the US college admissions scandal, federal prosecutors in Boston said Monday.

Huffman, the “Desperate Housewives” star, pleaded guilty to paying $ 15,000 to a bogus charity associated with Rick Singer to make it easier for his daughter to cheat on the SAT tests, the complaint says.

She faces up to 20 years in prison. In exchange for Huffman’s statement, federal prosecutors will recommend incarceration at the “low end” of the sentencing range, a $ 20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release. They will have no more charges.

A federal judge will have the final word on the outcome for Huffman and the other defendants.

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame for what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that arise from those actions,” he said in a statement.

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“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and above all I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college and to their parents who make huge sacrifices to support their children and they do it honestly. “

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing of my actions, and in my wrong and deeply wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression towards her and the public that I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is not an excuse for breaking the law or being dishonest, ”she said in the statement.

Huffman, Gregory and Marcia Abbott, Jane Buckingham, Gordon Caplan, Robert Flaxman, Agustin Huneeus Jr., Marjorie Klapper, Peter Jan Sartorio, Stephen Sempervivo, and Devin Sloane were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and have accepted plead guilty, prosecutors said.

Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and Bruce Isackson will also plead guilty to money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for taking a tax deduction for bribery.

Ultimately, Michael Center, the former University of Texas men’s tennis coach, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

More than a dozen guilty pleas

Rick Singer, who ran a college prep business, devised what prosecutors called the largest college admissions cheating scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.

Singer helped wealthy parents cheat on standardized tests for their children, and bribed college coaches to falsely designate children as recruited athletes, paving their way to admission.

The scheme helped students get into highly selective universities such as Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California (USC), and UCLA.

Several of the central figures in the case have already pleaded guilty, including Singer. Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who took a bribe to help a student get admitted, and Mark Riddell, who cheated on students on the SAT and ACT tests, agreed to plead guilty and are collaborating witnesses for the prosecution .

John Vandemoer, a former Stanford University head sailing coach, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion.

However, several of the defendants in the case gave no sign of pleading guilty, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

Loughlin and Giannulli reportedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $ 500,000 in exchange for their two daughters being appointed as recruits to the USC team, facilitating their acceptance into the school.

What Huffman did

The criminal complaint says Huffman and Singer exchanged multiple emails about getting their daughters’ additional time on the SAT.

They then arranged for Huffman’s daughter to take the SAT at a location controlled by an administrator who had been bribed by Singer, the complaint states. Riddell, the mastermind of the operation, then flew from Tampa to California to cheat on the test for Huffman’s daughter.

Huffman’s daughter received a score of 1,420 out of a maximum of 1,600 on the SAT, a score about 400 points higher than her preliminary SAT test the previous year. Huffman later discussed the scheme in a recorded phone call with Singer, the complaint says.

In court last week, Huffman acknowledged his rights, charges and the maximum possible penalties. She waived a pre-trial hearing, signed the terms of her release, and was then free to go. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, is not charged in the case.

Prosecutors will request jail time for all defendants, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. The defendants face between six and 21 months in prison if convicted or if they plead guilty, the official added, although the exact sentence would depend on several factors.

USC, Georgetown University and other schools involved in the scheme have said they are reviewing the admissions of students accused of participating in the scheme. Yale and Stanford expelled students associated with the scam.