Actress Felicity Huffman fought back tears as she pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court to charges in the nation’s largest college admissions scandal, becoming the highest-profile defendant to admit to crimes in the case, reports USA Today. The former “Desperate Housewives” stars admitted to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying Rick Singer, the scheme’s mastermind, $15,000 to have someone correct SAT answers for her oldest daughter. In a plea deal, prosecutors recommended Huffman receive a four-month prison term. A sentencing hearing was set for Sept. 13. Huffman, 56, became emotional before her guilty plea when discussing how her daughter has seen a neuropsychiatrist since the age of 11. She said issues related to therapy explained why her daughter needed an extra day to take the SAT.
Some parents in the admissions case have been accused of having their children fake disabilities to get approved for extra test time to facilitate cheating. At the same hearing, Devin Sloane, a CEO of a water systems company in Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to paying $250,000 in bribes to Singer to designate his son falsely as a water polo player so he could gain acceptance to the University of Southern California. Given the greater dollar amount than that paid by Huffman, prosecutors recommended 15 to 21 months of prison time for Sloane. In Huffman’s case, the government recommended that she receive 12 months of supervised release and pay a $20,000 fine, as well as an undetermined amount of restitution and forfeiture. Actress Lori Loughlin, the other celebrity indicted, has pleaded not guilty to the same charges and money laundering.