By Matthew Ormseth
Published 1:12 pm PDT, Monday, May 13, 2019
Actress Felicity Huffman is escorted by police into court, where she is expected to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud before Judge Talwani on Monday, May 13, 2019 at John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, Mass. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY** lessActress Felicity Huffman is escorted by police into court, where she is expected to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud before Judge Talwani on Monday, … more
Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP, TNS
Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP, TNS
Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty in a Boston courtroom Monday to a fraud conspiracy charge for her role in a brazen test-fixing and bribery scheme that has sent the actress’ reputation and career prospects tumbling.
Huffman, 56, admitted to paying $15,000 to William “Rick” Singer, a Newport Beach (Orange County) college admissions consultant, to inflate her daughter’s SAT score.
Prosecutors have recommended a sentence at the low end of guidelines that call for four to 10 months in prison, according to Huffman’s plea deal and federal sentencing guidelines. She will also pay a $20,000 fine.
But Huffman’s attorneys said in her plea agreement that they would reserve the right to argue that her sentence should be calculated at a slightly lower range than what prosecutors have proposed. If they are successful, Huffman could face a sentence between six months in prison and no time at all, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
Devin Sloane, a Los Angeles resident and executive of a water systems company, also pleaded guilty Monday in Boston to a fraud conspiracy charge. Because Sloane paid far more than Huffman to participate in Singer’s scheme, prosecutors have recommended he spend a year in prison and pay a $75,000 fine.
Thirty-three parents have been charged in the wide-ranging case.
In a mea culpa a month earlier, Huffman said she would not contest the government’s allegations and apologized to the public and her friends, family and daughter, who Huffman said knew nothing of the test-fixing scheme.
Singer told investigators he went to Huffman’s home in 2017 and explained to the actress and her husband, actor William Macy, how the scheme worked. Singer told the couple he “controlled” a private school in West Hollywood, where Huffman’s daughter would take the exam; he explained that an accomplice, 36-year-old Mark Riddell, would proctor the exam and correct their daughter’s answers after she finished the test.
Huffman and Macy agreed to it, according to a FBI affidavit filed in federal court.
For reasons that remain unclear, Macy has not been charged.
Matthew Ormseth is a Los Angeles Times writer.
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