California readers might be interested to learn that actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Sept. 13 for participating in a college admissions bribing scheme intended to boost her daughter’s SAT scores. She was also sentenced to 12 months of supervised release, assessed a $30,000 fine and ordered to serve 250 hours of community service. She must begin her prison sentence on Oct. 25.
According to prosecutors, Huffman confessed to paying $15,000 to arrange for her daughter’s SAT test score to be illegally inflated to 1420. The money was paid to the mastermind of the scandal, who paid someone to correct wrong answers on her test. The former Desperate Housewives star would have had to shell out $75,000 for her daughter to receive a perfect score of 1600.
In May, Huffman pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. At the time of her plea, she tearfully told the judge that she felt “deep regret and shame” over her actions. After her sentencing, she issued a statement saying that she broke the law and accepted the court’s ruling. She also said she had no excuse for her behavior and she intended to “live a more honest life” from now on. Huffman’s attorneys had asked the judge not to impose any prison time, citing her clean record. However, prosecutors argued that she should spend a month behind bars. The scandal was made public in March when federal prosecutors charged more than 50 people for allegedly taking part in the scheme.
Individuals charged with fraud and other types of white-collar crimes might need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. When the evidence seems to be solid, it might be advisable to enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution in exchange for a lesser penalty.