Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty yesterday to a fraud charge regarding her involvement in the sweeping college admissions scandal that rocked the nation and Hollywood earlier this year. Her husband, Shameless star William H. Macy, was notably not in attendance during her trial.
Huffman's case is one of dozens in which parents committed fraud and got caught in the US Department of Justice's largest ever prosecution of a college admissions scandal, with another high-profile fraudster being Fuller House's Lori Loughlin. Though Loughlin plead not guilty at her own trial, Huffman's plea comes after showing a much more remorseful conscience about her illicit actions to unethically further her daughter's academic career when publicly admitting to her guilt last month. Huffman's legal issues began when she paid $15,000 to a "charity," which turned out to be a cover for having someone else take her daughter's college entrance exams in her place to boost the teen's scores.
Pleading guilty on May 13 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, CNN reports that prosecutors recommended to the federal court that Huffman pay a $20,000 fine and serve up to four months in prison with a year of supervision upon the completion of her sentence. It's unknown, and perhaps unlikely, that Huffman will face the maximum recommended penalties for her crime, but her sentencing is scheduled for September 13, 2019. Absent from her trial was her husband Macy, whom has not been charged despite being aware and potentially complicit in the fraud that may put his wife behind bars.
Huffman holds that her daughter was not aware of the unfair advantage that her parents were paying to secure for her, and the Desperate Housewives star says that she and Macy did not use any illegal means to influence their younger daughter's education. However, she does admit they considered it. In her public admission of guilt from April, Huffman expressed humbled regret at hers and her husband's actions, stating:
"I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. 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, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly."
Huffman is right to apologize to those who gain higher education for themselves and their children through legal measures, but her cooperation and obvious sorrow with respect to her crime is certainly more admirable than overt denial of wrongdoing by other alleged fraudsters like Loughlin. Still, it gives one pause when wondering how Huffman's husband Macy was able to so effortlessly escape prosecution despite his seemingly tandem involvement in the act of fraud that has deeply scarred his wife's career and criminal record.