Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman was charged Tuesday with two counts of fraud, allegedly paying a bribe so her daughter could participate in a college entrance exam cheating scheme to fraudulently boost her SAT score.
Huffman, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and pay equality on social media, was one of more than 30 individuals charged Tuesday by the Department of Justice for allegedly partaking in what U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling called the largest-ever college admissions and testing bribery scheme.
“These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” Lelling said Tuesday. “This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud.”
A court affidavit details how Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, paid $15,000 to a California-based charity that arranged for their older daughter to take her SAT in a testing center that would “secretly correct her answers afterwards.” Their daughter received a score 400 points over what she received in her preliminary SAT.
Huffman won an Emmy in 2005 for her work playing a leading role on “Desperate Housewives.”
Huffman and Macy made the payment on Feb. 27, 2018, which was disguised as a donation that would allow the charity to “move forward with our plans to provide educational and self-enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth.”
One week before she cut the check to fraudulently boost her older daughter’s SAT score, Huffman tweeted that “every woman and girl has the right and deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live up to their fullest potential without the barrier of poverty.”
The affidavit states that Huffman began making plans in November to put down another $15,000 so her younger daughter could also participate in the cheating scheme, but she ultimately decided not to pull the trigger for her younger daughter, who Huffman said is inspired to go into politics because of Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Macy, who wasn’t named in the affidavit, said his older daughter’s college application process was “stressful” in a January interview with Parade Magazine.
“We’re right now in the thick of college application time, which is so stressful,” Macy said. “I am voting that once she gets accepted, she maybe takes a year off. God doesn’t let you be 18 twice.”
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