US actress pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

Brenda Watkins
May 14, 2019

She arrived at Boston federal court holding her brother Moore Huffman Junior's hand and remained silent as she entered the building for the afternoon hearing.

All that is far from ideal, but things could be a lot worse for Huffman; her daughter has yet to get embroiled in any yacht- or influencer-related drama, and her husband, the actor William H. Macy, has yet to face any charges.

"No, your honour", Huffman replied.

Huffman is scheduled to plead guilty alongside another parent charged in the case, California businessman Devin Sloane, who prosecutors said paid Singer $250,000 to help his oldest son gain admission to USC as a purported water polo recruit.

After the exam, Riddell corrected her answers, giving her a score of 1420-an improvement of 400 points from her PSAT, which the affidavit said she took a year earlier, without Riddell.

The court heard that the government will seek a four month prison term for Huffman, 12 months of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. Her sentencing hearing was scheduled for September 13.

The scandal, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, involved several wealthy parents-including Huffman and Fuller House star Lori Loughlin-paying large sums of money to help their children gain admittance to well-known higher education institutions. Thirteen other parents have also agreed to plead guilty.

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Key to the scheme, prosecutors say, was having Huffman's daughter diagnosed with a learning disability, which would give the girl extra time on the SAT and allow Riddell to proctor the exam at a school of Singer's choosing.

On March 12, the U.S. Attorney's Office in MA announced it had charged 50 people, including Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in the cheating scandal.

The parents are accused of paying an admissions consultant to bribe coaches in exchange for helping their children get into school as athletic recruits. Singer also bribed college coaches to falsely designate students as recruited athletes, smoothing their path to admission, a criminal complaint says.

Huffman's daughter was reportedly unaware of her mother's involvement in the scheme.

Mr Singer's foundation arranged for Huffman's eldest daughter to retake her college admissions test with an exam invigilator that it was paying to alter pupils' answers or scores, according to court papers.

She pleaded guilty to charges of honest services mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The legendary lifestyle guru, of course, had her own legal drama in the past, when she served a five-month sentence in a federal corrections facility from 2004 to 2005 after being convicted of multiple felony charges.

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