Felicity Huffman faces 10 months in jail despite pleading guilty, Lori Laughlin might have to serve more in college bribery scandal
The celebrity parents caught in the college cheating scandal have been offered plea deals, but prosecutors will reportedly only accept pleas with prison time attached
Felicity Huffman, star of Desperate Housewives, and a dozen other parents have all agreed to plead guilty in the massive college admissions bribery scam that shook wealthy families as well as athletic coaches in the nation's most elite universities. The actress and other parents were all charged in March in the scheme, which the authorities have said involved changing standard test scores and bribing coaches at universities such as Yale and Georgetown.
56-year-old Huffman was accused of paying one consultant $15,000 which was disguised as a charitable donation in order to boost her daughter's SAT score. The authorities have also said that the actress discussed doing the same thing for her younger daughter but eventually decided not to.
According to court documents, Huffman pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy and fraud. Those particular charges are generally punishable by up to 20 years behind bars, but the plea agreement indicates that prosecutors will look for a sentence of 4 to 10 months. Experts have also said that they can expect some of the parents, like Huffman, to avoid prison time completely if they quickly accept responsibility.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that the ones coming forward and pleading guilty are among the 50 accused by federal prosecutors in Boston, of engaging in a bribing method and getting their children into well-known universities. Reports have it that individuals paid as much as $25 million in bribes to secure their child's seat. Officials say parents paid an admissions consultant to rig their children's test scores and bribe coaches at elite universities to designate their kids as athletic recruits.
The consultant behind the whole scam, Rick Singer, reportedly met with Huffman and her 69-year-old actor husband William H. Macy in their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he "controlled" a testing center. AP reported that Singer had someone secretly changing Huffmans' daughter's test scores. Singer eventually told the authorities that Huffman and Macy agreed to this plan. The authorities are yet to reveal why Macy was not charged in the scam.
Huffman apologized in her first public statement after her arrest and took full responsibility for her actions. She also said that she would accept the consequences. Huffman said in the statement: "My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty."
'Full House' actress Lori Loughlin and her designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, however, will not be as lucky as Huffman and could be facing a lot more time in prison compared to Huffman. The couple paid a much higher bribe in their alleged part in the massive scandal. It was reported that they paid $500,000 as a bribe to a USC crew coach and, as a result of this, any plea deal they accept will raise the minimum prison sentence to about 2 years with the maximum being 2 and a half years.
It has been reported that if any of the defendants do not accept the plea deal that they have been presented with, or if they take too long to accept the deal, they could very well face a Federal Grand Jury. They will also end up having additional charges to their respective sentences.