The Desperate Housewives actress pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Huffman, 56, is one of 14 parents who agreed to plead guilty to allegations stemming from a far-reaching federal investigation, known as Operation Varsity Blues, that has led to the arrests of dozens of wealthy parents, coaches, and college officials.
Huffman, 56, paid $15,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), which prosecutors said was actually a front for accepting bribes.
Singer then facilitated cheating on Huffman’s oldest daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact.
For the scheme to work, the venue of Huffman’s daughter’s SAT was changed from her high school to another location, which required a note from a neuropsychologist. While addressing Judge Indira Talwani, Huffman broke down in tears explaining that her daughter had been seeing a neuropsychologist since the age of eight and had been receiving extra time on exams since she was 11. The request to change the venue, Huffman said, was made in earnest and not as part of the scheme.
Huffman reiterated that her daughter knew nothing about the scam, and on Monday told Judge Talwani, “The neuropsychologist had no part of this.”
After becoming emotional while discussing her daughter, Huffman paused for a full minute before continuing to address the judge.
Under her plea deal, Huffman is prohibited from running for office, owning a firearm and ammunition, and faces other restrictions.
She told the judge that she understood the terms of her plea deal. The judge then reminded the actress that she would be waiving her right to stand trial if she pleaded guilty.
Huffman has agreed not to appeal any prison decision up to 20 years. In return, the government is recommending that she receive a punishment near the lower end of the sentencing guidelines of 4 to 10 months.