Felicity Huffman and 12 Other Parents Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

Thirteen wealthy parents, including actress Felicity Huffman, and one coach will plead guilty to using bribery and other forms of fraud as part of the college admissions scandal, federal prosecutors in Boston said on Monday.

Huffman, the “Desperate Housewives” star, pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to a fake charity associated with Rick Singer to facilitate cheating for her daughter on the SATs, the complaint says.

“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” she said in a statement.

“I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty,” she said in the statement.

Huffman, Gregory and Marcia Abbott, Jane Buckingham, Gordon Caplan, Robert Flaxman, Agustin Huneeus Jr., Marjorie Klapper, Peter Jan Sartorio, Stephen Semprevivo and Devin Sloane were all charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and have agreed to plead guilty, prosecutors said.

Bruce Isackson and Davina Isackson will plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and Bruce Isackson will also plead guilty to money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the IRS for taking a tax deduction for the bribe.

Finally, Michael Center, the former men’s tennis coach at the University of Texas, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

More than a dozen guilty pleas

Rick Singer, who ran a college prep business, masterminded what prosecutors called the largest college admissions cheating scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.

Singer helped wealthy parents cheat on standardized tests for their children, and he bribed college coaches to falsely designate the children as recruited athletes, smoothing their path to admission.

The scheme helped the students get into highly selective universities like Yale, Stanford, University of Southern California and UCLA.

Several of the central figures in the case have already pleaded guilty, including Singer. Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith, who accepted a bribe to help a student get admitted, and Mark Riddell, who cheated for the students on the SATs and ACTs, have agreed to plead guilty and are cooperating witnesses for the prosecution.

John Vandemoer, Stanford University’s former sailing head coach, has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering.

But a number of the defendants in the case have given no signs of a coming guilty plea, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli.

Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team, easing their acceptance to the school.

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SOURCE: CNN, Eric Levenson