Felicity Huffman has broken her silence on the college admissions scandal that shocked the nation and landed her in prison in 2019. The actress claimed that it “felt like [she] had to give [her] daughter a chance at a future.”
“It was sort of like my daughter’s future, which meant I had to break the law,” Felicity, 60, told the interviewer for ABC-7 Eyewitness News on Thursday, November 30.
“People assume that I went into this looking for a way to cheat the system and making proverbial criminal deals in back alleys, but that was not the case,” the former Desperate Housewives star explained. “I worked with a highly recommended college counselor named Rick Singer. I worked with him for a year and trusted him implicitly; he recommended programs and tutors, and he was the expert. And after a year, he started to say, ‘Your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to.’ And so, I believed him.”
The Oscar-nominated actress, who pleaded guilty to paying a proctor $15,000 to change her daughter Sophia Macy’s answers on the SAT, added that she felt backed into a corner about her daughter’s college choices.
“When he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seemed like — and I know this seems crazy at the time — that that was my only option to give my daughter a future. I know hindsight is 20/20 but it felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So, I did it.”
In 2019, Felicity, along with other wealthy parents, including actress Lori Loughlin, were accused of cheating, fraud and bribery as a way to secure their children’s admissions into prestigious Ivy League schools. Felicity served 11 days in prison, while Lori received a two-month federal prison sentence.
During the trial Felicity wrote the judge overseeing the case a letter attempting to explain her actions.
“I keep asking myself, ‘Why did I do this? Why did I say yes to a scheme of breaking the law and compromising my integrity? What interior forces drove me to do it? How could I abandon my own moral compass and common sense?’” the letter read, according to People.
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More than 50 parents participated in the scandal, and over a third of them received a prison sentence of three months or less. William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind behind the conspiracy, however, received a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Rick, who orchestrated the scheme with his two college prep businesses, Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College & Career Network, pulled in over $25 million from desperate parents. The criminal conspiracy and government investigation, later dubbed “Operation: Varsity Blues,” garnered so much attention that it became the focus of a Netflix documentary in March 2021.
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