Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty Monday in Boston federal court for her role in the college admissions cheating case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”
Through tears, the former Desperate Housewives star admitted to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud by paying a fixer $15,000 to have someone correct her oldest daughter’s answers on an SAT exam, NBC News reported.
Federal prosecutors said the payment was disguised to look like a charitable tax-deductible donation to a foundation operated by ringleader William Rick Singer — who pleaded guilty earlier this year.
In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors recommended a four month prison sentence, a year of supervised release and a $20,000 fine for the actress.
Huffman, 56, is married to Shameless star William H. Macy. She arrived at court holding hands with her brother and did not speak to reporters.
Prosecutors said the Emmy-winning actress arranged to have her daughter diagnosed with a learning disability to allow the girl extra time to take her SAT test.
Crying in court, Huffman revealed her daughter had been seeing a neuropsychologist for years, and getting extra time to take tests. She said the doctor and her daughter were unaware of the scam.
“I just didn’t want to create the impression that the neuropsychologist had any involvement because she, like my daughter, didn’t have any knowledge of my actions, of what I had done,” she said.
Huffman was one of 50 high-profile individuals, including actress Lori Loughlin, charged in a scheme that involved changing test results, hiring proctors to take exams for children and superimposing kids’ faces onto pictures of real student athletes, to guarantee college admission through athletics programs.
Huffman apologized in a statement last month.
“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community,” she said.
The actress will be sentenced on Sept. 13.
Despite her legal troubles, Huffman has a series of projects in the works. She will next be seen in Ava DuVernay’s limited series When They See Us about the wrongly convicted Central Park Five. The series is scheduled to premiere May 31 on Netflix.