Felicity Huffman breaks silence on college admissions scandal after prison sentence for bribing daughter's way into college

1 December 2023, 15:41

Felicity Huffman - pictured right with husband William H. Macy - served 11 days in prison and was forced to pay $30,000 for her involvement in the college admissions scandal
Felicity Huffman - pictured right with husband William H. Macy - served 11 days in prison and was forced to pay $30,000 for her involvement in the college admissions scandal. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Felicity Huffman has finally broken her silence about her role in the college admissions scandal that saw her spend 11 days in jail for bribing officials to falsify her daughter's SAT results.

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Huffman said she had "no option" but to break the law as she opened up on the scandal which saw dozens of wealthy parents of school students charged with bribery and fraud after trying to cheat their kids' way into elite colleges.

The Desperate Housewives star and Oscar-nominated actress paid $15,000 to college officials in bribe money so they could fudge her daughter's exam scores.

Huffman, who is married to actor William H. Macy, was forced to pay $30,000 in fines and serve 11 days in prison after being charged with fraud in 2019.

Reflecting on the scandal for the first time publically outside of the courtroom on ABC-7's Eyewitness News, Huffman said she thought it was a "joke" when FBI agents turned up at her house to arrest her.

"I thought it was a hoax," Huffman said. "I literally turned to one of the FBI people, in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went, 'Is this a joke?'"

"They came into my home. They woke my daughters up at gunpoint ... Then they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed."

Fellow actress Lori Loughlin was also caught up in the scandal after she paid for both of her daughters to be accepted into the University of Southern California.

Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy and their daughters Georgia Grace Macy and Sophia Grace Macy
Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy and their daughters Georgia Grace Macy and Sophia Grace Macy. Picture: Alamy
Felicity Huffman and husband William H. Macy arriving at the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, CA, USA on January 16, 2005. Photo by hahn-Khayat/ABACA
Felicity Huffman and husband William H. Macy arriving at the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, CA, USA on January 16, 2005. Photo by hahn-Khayat/ABACA. Picture: Alamy

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Huffman said she regretted participating in the scheme but said had "no option" because her daughter Sophia has a learning disability and was not going to be accepted otherwise.

She continued: "It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future. And so it was sort of like my daughter's future, which meant I had to break the law,' she said.

"I think I feel the people I owe a debt and an apology to is the academic community and to the students and the families that sacrifice and work really hard to get to where they are going legitimately."

Huffman had paid $15,000 to the mastermind of the scheme, Rick Singer. He was subsequently sentenced to three and a half years in prison in January of this year.

The couple had hired Singer to help their daughter improve her test scores and said the criminal scheme was not obvious at first.

However, when he told her that there was no chance Sophia could get accepted to any of the colleges, Singer "slowly started to present the criminal scheme".

Huffman said Sophia was not aware that her parents had paid for someone to alter her test scores. A group of SAT test scorers then inflated her marks once the exam was completed.

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