US actress pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

Xinhua
Felicity Huffman on Monday pleaded guilty to federal charges, admitting she shelled out thousands of dollars to a fixer who helped boost her daughter's college admission hopes.
Xinhua

US actress Felicity Huffman on Monday pleaded guilty to federal charges, admitting that she shelled out thousands of dollars to a fixer who helped boost her daughter's college admission hopes.

Huffman, 56, paid US$15,000 to correct answers on her daughter's SAT exam, a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States, leading to a remarkably improved score from the teen's Preliminary SAT performance, according to prosecutors.

The Oscar-nominated actress, known for her role in "Desperate Housewives," had agreed to plead guilty last month to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, court records showed.

Prosecutors on Monday recommended Huffman, who was arrested in March, receive four months behind bars.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13.

Also pleading guilty in a federal courtroom in Boston, Massachusetts, was Devin Sloane, a Los Angeles businessman who paid US$250,000 for his son to be admitted as a phony water polo recruit at the University of Southern California.

Five parents have pleaded guilty in connection with the prosecution. Nine others have made agreements with prosecutors to plead guilty at a later date.

Huffman paid the money to a fund run by William "Rick" Singer, who helped well-heeled clients to either boost standardized test scores of their children or pass them off as elite athletes to be qualified for special or lower admissions standards.

Singer pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice.

Prominent schools such as Yale University, Stanford University, USC, and Georgetown University, among others, were implicated in the far-reaching probe, nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues, which was disclosed earlier this year.  

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