Felicity Huffman’s sentencing gives prosecutors a crucial win as they seek prison sentences for other parents charged in the historic case.
USA TODAYActress Felicity Huffman reported to a federal prison in California on Tuesday, becoming the first parent sentenced in the nation’s college admissions scandal to begin serving time for their actions.Huffman, 56, reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California near the San Francisco Bay area, USA TODAY confirmed. The prison is a low-security prison that houses 1,227 female inmates.She’s set to serve 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 to Rick Singer, the mastermind of a nationwide college admissions scheme, to have someone correct answers on the SAT test of her oldest daughter, Sophia.Other past famous inmates at the Dublin, California federal prison include author and actress Patty Hearst, Heidi Fleiss, known as the “Hollywood Madam,” and Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975. Forbes Magazine named the facility one of America’s top 10 “cushiest” prisons in 2009. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani sentenced Huffman in Boston federal court on Sept. 13. The actress was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, serve one year of supervision upon her release and perform 250 hours of community service.More: Lori Loughlin faces ‘substantially higher’ prison sentence than Felicity Huffman if convictedHuffman, former star of the television series “Desperate Housewives,” received a lighter sentence than all but one of the eight parents sentenced so far in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.Talwani has given less prison time to parents like Huffman who took part in the test-cheating plot than parents who paid substantially more money to Singer to get their children classified as fake athletic recruits to get them admitted into a college. The judge has said the latter scheme took a seat away from a deserving student.CLOSE
The college admissions scam involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman shows how some rich families use a “side door” to game an already unfair education system.
Just the FAQs, USA TODAYProsecutors say they will seek substantially greater prison time for actress Lori Loughlin, who has pleaded not guilty to charges involving the recruitment scheme, if she is convicted. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to Singer’s sham nonprofit for their two daughters to be classified as crew recruits at the University of Southern California.More: Felicity Huffman sentenced: 2 weeks in prison, $30,000 fine for college admissions scandalHuffman’s daughter’s SAT score improved to a 1420 as a result of the cheating, up 400 points from when she took the PSAT by herself the previous year.Huffman said she “didn’t go shopping for a college counselor to find out how to rig a SAT score.” Rather, she hired a counselor for guidance on how to apply to colleges for her daughter, who has learning disabilities. She said Singer came recommended. During her sentencing last month, Huffman teared up as she recalled to the judge driving her daughter to the Los Angeles testing center where the cheating occurred and her “eternal shame” for not turning around. She recounted the story of how her daughter found out what she had done.”She said, ‘I don’t know who you are anymore, Mom. Why didn’t you believe in me, Mom? Why didn’t you think I can do it on my own?’ I can only say, ‘I’m sorry Sophia. I was so stupid and I was so wrong’. … I have done more damage than I could have ever imagined.”Talwani has said prison is necessary for parents charged in the scheme to deter other wealthy parents from doing the same to get their children admitted into elite universities. “I think without this sentence you would be looking at a future with a community around you asking how you got away with this,” Talwani said to Huffman.More: Napa Valley vineyard owner gets five months in prison for college admissions schemeThe longest prison sentence handed down to date in the admissions scandal is five months to Napa Valley wine vineyard owner Agustin Huneeus Jr., who agreed to pay Singer $300,000 to take part in both the test and recruitment schemes. Only one parent — Peter Jan “P.J.” Sartorio, founder and president of P.J.’s Organics, which specializes in frozen burritos — has avoided prison. Sartorio, who received one year of supervised release, admitted to paying Singer $15,000 in cash to have his daughter’s ACT test corrected.Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideRead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/10/15/felicity-huffman-prison-college-admissions-scandal/3986448002/