Felicity Huffman Thought Her Arrest in College Cheating Scandal Was a ‘Hoax’ (Video)

Felicity Huffman Makes Court Appearance in April 2019. (Credit: Shutterstock)

For the first time, Felicity Huffman has spoken publicly about her arrest in the college admissions scandal.

The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress sat down with Los Angeles news station KABC-TV to discuss being taken into custody by the FBI, after paying a fixer $15,000 to have her oldest daughter’s answers corrected on the SAT college entrance exam.

“It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future,” Huffman told KABC’s Marc Brown in a Thursday interview. “And so it was sort of like my daughter’s future, which meant I had to break the law.”

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Huffman, 60, pleaded guilty in 2019 to fraud and conspiracy, after paying “Operation Varsity Blues” ringleader William Rick Singer — who also pleaded guilty — to increase her daughter’s chances of getting into college.

The actress was one of 50 high-profile individuals, including Full House actress Lori Loughlin, to take part in the nationwide scandal — hoping to guarantee their children’s acceptance into elite universities.

The scam 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.

The Desperate Housewives star told Marc Brown someone recommended Singer, saying he could help her daughter prepare for the exam. Huffman said it took a while for Singer to reveal there would be criminal activity involved.

“After a year, he started to say your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to,” Huffman recalled. “And I believed him. And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seems like – and I know this seems crazy at the time – but that was my only option to give my daughter a future.”

The FBI showed up at her door several months later, but she thought it was a “hoax.”

“They came into my home. They woke my daughters up at gunpoint. Again, nothing new to the Black and Brown community. Then they put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me and I asked if I could get dressed,” she said. “I thought it was a hoax. I literally turned to one of the FBI people, in a flak jacket and a gun, and I went, is this a joke?”

[Watch the interview below]

Following her conviction, Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and given one year’s probation. She served 11 days in the minimum security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., before she was granted early release.

According to KABC, every college Huffman’s daughter applied to during the scandal rejected her. She later re-took the SAT and was accepted into the drama program at Carnegie Mellon University.

Huffman has two children and is married to Shameless star William H. Macy.

The actress was a sought after performer before the scandal. She received an Oscar-nomination for her role in the film Transamerica. She also starred in the ABC series American Crime, and had a role in Ava DuVernay’s award-winning Netflix limited series When They See Us.

Huffman has a long history with ABC, after starring in Desperate Housewives and John Ridley’s American Crime alongside Regina King.

She is now an advocate for reentry program, A New Way of Life, which assists formerly incarcerated women.

Watch the interview with Felicity Huffman below.