Felicity Huffman has better lawyers than Lori Loughlin. It probably helps that Felicity understood the gravity of the FBI arresting her at dawn on federal charges in the college-admissions scam. Felicity was one of many parents who paid Rick Singer to cheat. Felicity wanted her daughters’ SAT scores to be faked somehow. So Felicity was caught and she was looking at years in prison. She was offered a deal. She took it immediately, with her lawyers’ advice. She confessed, pleaded guilty and publicly apologized. And now it looks like the most prison time she would have to do is… ONE MONTH?
Felicity Huffman’s about to dodge a huge bullet in the college admissions bribery scandal … that is, if the judge follows federal prosecutors’ recommendation. The U.S. Attorney filed docs Friday saying the actress should do one month in federal prison and pay $20,000 in fines. That’s a great deal for Felicity because, back in May, prosecutors were recommending she do somewhere between 4 to 10 months in prison.
As for why the feds softened, prosecutors say in docs, “Some period of incarceration is the only meaningful sanction for these crimes. Not because the defendants’ relative wealth has generated public resentment, but because jail is a particularly meaningful response to this kind of offense. For wrongdoing that is predicated on wealth and rationalized by a sense of privilege, incarceration is the only leveler: in prison everyone is treated the same, dressed the same, and intermingle regardless of affluence, position or fame.” Translation: the government wants to scare the rich, privileged and celebs … so they know misdeeds will result in them going to prison — even for a little while.
It’s interesting … although the sentencing recommendation is light, the prosecutors’ language is tough — “Huffman’s conduct was deliberate and manifestly criminal: it was wrong, she knew it was wrong, and she actively participated in manipulating her daughter’s guidance counselor, the testing services and the schools to which her daughter applied.” The prosecutor goes on … “Her efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity. Millions of parents send their kids to college every year. All of them care as much as she does about the children’s fortunes. But they don’t buy fake SAT scores and joke about (‘Ruh ro!’) along the way.”
The “Ruh ro” references an email — submitted as evidence — which Felicity had sent to Rick Singer, the bribery ringleader, when she found out the high school was using its own proctor instead of the one who was supposed to rig the testing.
Felicity did have 27 people submit letters of support … including her husband William H. Macy and former costar Eva Longoria. Felicity’s attorney submitted their own docs, recommending she get 1 year of probation, 250 hours community service and the $20k fine. According to the docs, prison isn’t necessary to deter others because Felicity’s already suffering in several ways: she can’t get an audition or offer for roles, her daughter Sophia can’t get auditions at performing arts colleges … even ones where SATs aren’t required, and both of her daughters are “deeply angry” at her. Our U.S. Attorney sources say one of the reasons prosecutors softened their recommendation is because the probation department was recommending as little as NO prison time.
Yeah, the federal prosecutors were like “we’re going to make an example out of all of these rich douches” and then everyone else was like “but these are white people committing white collar crimes and maybe some of these cases were a waste of resources?” I don’t know. I bet Felicity gets, like, a mostly symbolic 48 hours in prison or something.
In addition to submitting letters of support to the court, Felicity also submitted her own letter to the court, explaining how and why she committed the crimes – you can read the piece here. She admits that there is “no justification for what I have done,” but still goes on and on about how her daughters have “serious learning disabilities” and she wanted her daughters to have good SAT scores so they could at least have some choices when it came to acting programs or theater programs. I…well, I’m not sure I believe that. But whatever, Felicity is fully apologizing and admitting everything.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid.
They should give her a 12 months sentence to make a high profile example of her and then possibly let her out after 6 months for good behavior.
Also charities /organisations should encourage her to make a donation equal to the bribe she made to a charity that works to free incarcerated women of lower socio-economic status who have been jailed for 5 years for doing exactly the same thing.
Your second paragraph is an excellent suggestion.
This is a great solution.
“for doing exactly the same thing” or much much less. Cosign. <3
A functioning legal system relies on individuals getting the same sentence regardless of profile, because it is meant to fit the crime and no one should suffer unnecessarily to be an example to others. That’s true for the people in this case and every other crime: shoplifting, traffic fines, theft, etc. If this is the legal consequence for this crime (given that the accused accepted a plea deal), then it should be an argument around whether we think that’s an adequate punishment for everyone, not just for her. In my opinion, I think it is, but I also worry she might not end up serving any time in prison because of overcrowding which makes it less meaningful.
I think one of the issues is that there isn’t really a low SES equivalent of this crime. It’s something you can ONLY really do if you have a certain amount of disposable income. I think it’s a fair discussion to have about whether these affluent crimes are punished less severely than other crimes. We just need to find a way to compare them (or more likely someone already has and it should just be better circulated).
Actually there is. I’ve heard of several poor people get YEARS in prison for residency fraud to get their kids into a better school district.
@Jenny, indeed. Some get years for having lied about their address so that kids could enroll in a “better” district…
The thing though, is that it’s those sentences that are bloody ridiculous and should never happen! None of those people are a danger to society, they don’t belong in jail, they shouldn’t become unemployable once they get out, have to file for bankruptcy and pretty much be condemn to a life in poverty (which often ends to commit new crimes to get by…) A month of jail to show everyone those crimes are taken seriously (esp the tax fraud part) + community service and a fine is more than enough (and when lying about the district, seriously community service should be all). The US justice system absolutely has to be reformed! It shouldn’t jail poor people just so that some private corporations that manages the jails get more money.
@JennyD but that’s a state, not federal crime and the laws and sentencing will vary by state. Loughlin and Huffman are charged with federal crimes.
@Lightpurple – excuse the ignorance (Brit here) but wouldn’t a Federal crime be more serious by implication and therefore shouldn’t it attract a stiffer sentence ?
@Migninette – federal crimes are no more or less serious than state crimes. It’s a matter of jurisdiction. Whether or not you are tried at the state of federal level depends on the nature of your crime and if you crossed state lines or country borders in the commission of that crime. If your crime was committed in a single state and you didn’t attack federal assets, it’s a usually a state crime. I don’t recall the exact specifics of Felicity’s case, but I believe she wired money across state lines, which makes her crime federal.
@Mignionette, a federal crime is not necessarily any more serious than a state or local crime. For instance, mail fraud is a federal crime, but murder is usually a state crime.
Mignionette, federal and state governments deal with different crimes. For example, murder is a state or local crime while kidnapping is a federal crime. As others have said, if a criminal activity crosses state lines, it automatically becomes a federal crime.
Or at least use the same amount of money she spent on the scam to offer a college scholarship for kids who don’t have rich folks. Although Felicity sounds contrite (and the evidence against her crime is way more solid than Loughlin’s), it still makes me a little peeved that she didn’t get at least 4 months of prison. She could have been released earlier, but at least her sentencing wouldn’t be such a joke.
I believe she is not at all sorry for what she did but extremely sorry she got caught & is going to jail. She should be quite happy w/the extraordinary kind sentence the prosecution has requested. 1-6 months. Other than taking that & doing it quietly any comments of her “utter shame”’ is just acting
And that’s how it’s done. Can’t wait to see how Lori is judged in comparison!
It seems like she played well her hand: she admitted she was wrong and that she did it for her daughter with learning disabilities (we don’t know if it’s true). I bet that sounds way better than Lori’s story “Sorry my daughter was too busy partying so that is why we cheated”.
Every upper middle class kid I knew in Silicon Valley had “learning disabilities”. It’s a scam that well off parents use to get more time on the SATS. Some affluent school districts have 30-40% of their kids labeled as needing extra help. It’s really disgusting and harms the children that really do need help.
This is the same situation in the UK. I have an ex colleague who was able to be classified as disabled with the ‘mildest’ form of ‘dysgraphia’ (written form of dyslexia). She was then able to use that ‘disability’ to secure a training contract at no less than 4-5 Top UK/US Law firms in the UK as she effectively helped to fill their disability quota without posing a ‘substantive’ risk i.e. physical disability or mild mental health issues, which would require increased adjustment to the workplace.
It’s a horrible game that employers play and M/C children have also cottoned on that it gets them ahead in the queue.
Whereas people with the sort of disabilities this very legislation was designed for are not benefiting from it.
M/C academic crime is widespread but only the W/C are criminalised bc effectively it’s about maintaining the status quo. The reporting actually happens at the school / institution and employer level.
I am still incredibly disappointed in her. She should get a tougher sentence. It is not fair on so many levels. There are plenty of people with “learning disabilities” who still take their own tests. No excuse.
Yeah, exactly. Seems like she couldn’t come to grips with the fact that her daughter might not be accepted to the “right” kind of school. She should have used that energy to find her a school with added supports to help her succeed.
It also seems like she and these parents don’t consider the fact that if the kids to get into a school that would be out of reach, academically, without cheating, chances are they are going to struggle every day to stay afloat.
I thought the characterization of her being “morally clueless” was off. I don’t think she was clueless at all. Grr.
Everything you wrote is so important. Why work to get your child into a school where every day will be a struggle; a school where there will be a high possibility of the child flunking out or dropping out? Parents and school counselors need to guide students to colleges where they have supports for learning disabilities; colleges where the students have the chance to excel.
Parents who work the system to get their child into a school that is too difficult for that student, set their child up for failure.
Giddy, yes. There’s so much more awareness of learning differences on college campuses and so many options depending on the student’s strengths and weaknesses. There should be no shame in attending a school that isn’t top tier. Shame on Felicity for saddling her daughter with such misplaced pressure and now unwarranted shame.
Course work is no more or less challenging by school. The rules of physics and calculus are the same for everyone, you know?
Megan if that was true then how come so many students at elite schools take summer or online courses at their state/local schools and transfer the credits? Course work/requirements/expectations are definitely more challenging at some schools than others.
I think she will get a lenient sentence because she took the deal (not saying it’s just or fair) but she quickly took the deal, apologized is owned up. Lori who is fighting it, will fare much much worse, I’m sure.
The thing is, would society benefit if she had a longer jail sentence? Jail is expensive and sort of useless in most cases (unless someone is truly a danger for society/some members of society), one month in jail is more than enough to teach someone a lesson, esp if they pleaded guilty thus not having to set up trial and burden the justice system. Of course the situation is unfair, which is why demanding community service and big fines would be a more useful sentence than jail time (again, that applies to most non-violent crimes)
I agree, that letter made my opinion of her even worse. I actually feel bad for her kids who she clearly has no faith in to work hard and earn their way into college on their own merit – learning disability or not.
Wasn’t her daughter interested in becoming an actress and she was going to apply for a performing arts school? It’s not like she’s going to a rigorous college. I didn’t think the cheating was necessary.
Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted of using the wrong residence to get her daughters into a better school district in Ohio. As a result, she was sentenced to 3 years & ordered to pay $30,000 to the school district. Williams-Bolar is a black woman in case you were wondering.
I still can’t get over the insanity of that sentencing. This system is so broken.
She was in jail for 9 days though.
But the sentencing is crazy. There was another in CT that was sentenced to 5 years.
I went to high school with Kelley. I don’t know Felicity personally but I can tell you that Kelley has always been a horrible bully. And her father..whoa. He was in the middle of being prosecuted for fraud when he died. I live in NE Ohio where her case occurred and we have had open enrollment for many years. She could have easily applied to have her kids attend one of 20+ different schools and they would have been bussed there, at no charge to her. She wanted her kids to attend a school that didn’t have open enrollment so she went about it the shady and illegal way. Then, when caught she lied, called the prosecution racist and refused to accept any responsibility.
I live in northeastern Ohio too,and I remember this case.I did not know about too much of her personal background or her available choices.The sentence still seems harsh to me,but thanks for expanding on it.
@Jen. Your point is well taken. Doesn’t change the fact that what she did was not any worse than what Felicity (and her husband because let’s not pretend he didn’t know) did. Yet I notice some difference in the recommended sentence… I can’t qwhite put my finger on it.
@Sarah did Kelley William’s plead guilty? If not, it may be more accurate to compare her case to Lori Loughlan
I don’t know the woman personally, so I won’t argue about whether or not she is a terrible person. But she was zoned for an under performing school. None of the open enrollment options were as good as the closed one, and they were much further away. Her father’s alleged fraud didn’t have anything to do with where he lived or paid taxes. He paid taxes in the district. His daughter used his address to send her kids to the best possible school, and that happened to be in his district.
The school district hired a detective. HIRED A DETECTIVE. To catch her. Then they asked her to pay $30k in ‘tuition’. She said no. I don’t blame her for one bit of it. Public schools in rich areas shouldn’t be better funded than schools in poor areas. THEY ARE PUBLIC. It is immoral, and it is an abomination. It is an outrage.
She isn’t the same as Felicity. Felicity lied to put her kids above kids that had actually earned a spot at a school based on merit. Public elementary schools are not based on merit. They are based on geography.
I consider her act one of protest, and I applaud her. The game is rigged. But people have all this righteous indignation because she cheated a rigged system?
fyi – She served 9 days, but she would still have been on probation for three years after that. Probation for poor people is a huge burden.
State and federal laws are not the same and different sentencing laws apply.
I hope she serves enough time to really feel it, not an in and out in a weekend kind of thing, and then I hope they really load her up on community service.
I don’t believe Felicity was charged with money laundering, was she? Lori had more and more serious charges, and should be much, much worse. They were idiots for not taking a plea.
Lori is looking at mail fraud and tax fraud and apparently both are way worse crimes.
Ah right, mail fraud was the other one. They’ve got some pretty serious charges there.
Some site I was reading was saying that as a Fed. crime (as opposed to State), the time served is more strictly adhered to. But one month?? Her roots barely have time to grow out. It is FAR too lenient, IMO.
I read this on the weekend:
My head can’t make sense of what’s happening in the US.
I know, it’s incredibly depressing that we have made so little progress in making sure all kids have access to quality education. It’s almost as if people have been working actively against that. /s
There’s definitely a racial element to both the Ohio and Connecticut cases. But like the memes that I keep seeing on FB, this post leaves info out. And as already mentioned in comments, these were local cases, the college scandal is federal, so directly comparing them can misleading.
You can be factual on both cases, and compare them locally, it’ll still show the system is FUBARed.
Federal and state have different laws, different sentencing guidelines.
Federal court isn’t the same as state court. I believe sentencing rules on the federal level disallow something like only serving 48 hours on a month-long sentence. I think they are required to serve 80 percent of their sentence. Of course, that presumes that the judge accepts the prosecution’s recommendation.
So essentially her calls for leniency are meaningless because she will still be forced to serve 24+ days
“so they could at least have some choices when it came to acting programs or theater programs”
Sigh…f**k off Felicity. The reason university theatre programs require SATs is because they require academic electives (history, philosophy). So what were you going to do when your daughters got in and had extensive course work and papers to wri…oh let me guess. 🙄
There are however multiple highly regarded conservatories which do NOT require SATs. But those weren’t good enough were they? Even though your daughters (if talented) might have been able to get into those programs on their own merit.
She’s awful. All these parents are, burn the whole system to the ground.
There are also plenty of actors who don’t have any formal training, and manage to find employment if they are talented enough. Considering her children probably grew up on various sets and both parents have tons of connections, this was also an option. Or they could’ve hired private instructors as well. It was all about the prestige and bragging rights of a certain university.
I snorted at that, too. I feel sorry for her daughters.
Yeah the crux of her defense is that her daughter is not good enough on her own merits. Did she ever even get a chance?
Her reasoning is inexcusable. It’s basically that her kids are dumb and incapable of getting into the kind of university she wants them to attend. Did it ever occur to her to have them apply to a university with provisions for learning disabilities? She definitely did not have their best interests at heart. She was only thinking of herself.
OTOH, I am enjoying her dowdy court look here. She really nailed it.
Considering a lot of the nepotism actors got in without completing their formal education (Bryce Dallas Howard is one), I really don’t think formal training is necessary if you have talent. Seriously she’s not looking to be a brain surgeon. She should have scrubbed that from her letter.
Really? As if having two parents who are well known actors wasn’t enough?
Up until then she was doing ok, but that statement just shows its all BS.
Meanwhile a black woman in Texas is serving five years in prison for voting while having a felony record. But sure…a month for Felicity. This sounds about white.
Yeah, this sentence made me lol: incarceration is the only leveler: in prison everyone is treated the same, dressed the same, and intermingle regardless of affluence, position or fame.
It absolutely is not. The prison system is one of the most racist and classist there is. She’ll be treated like a queen, guards will be respectful. . .it will be a very different experience for her, a rich white woman, than Crystal Mason.
I buy the learning disabilities thing-I think that was likely part of it for many of these wealthy parents and it’s mostly about their ego. I saw the handwriting on one of those kids-the one whose mom sent the writing sample to the person arranging the cheat, where she’s like “Can you see basically how dumb my kid is?” Can you imagine if you had been struggling with writing or reading or math your whole life and never got assistance and your parents kept assuring you “it’s fine, you’re fine,” then you get into a great college and you think “ok, maybe I’m doing better than I think,”but then you found out your parents basically NEVER believed in you and NEVER thought you could do better, so much so they decided to drop a small fortune to get you into college AND their texts about this became public? It’s rotten.
I think all these wealthy parents were ignoring or keeping their kids’ learning deficiencies secret because they were ashamed or embarrassed (obviously they shouldn’t be) and their kids had basically been skating by on mediocre grades or their socioeconomic status. Suddenly it was time for college and they all panicked because it was about to be obvious that they had done nothing to help their children and they were afraid that everyone was going to see that Felicity Huffman or whomever’s daughter was not “gifted”.
Obviously the exception here would be parents like Lori Loughlin who had spoiled their kids so much they basically took them on vacation constantly instead of sending them to class.
Nope, affluent school districts have extremely high numbers of pupils who have been identified as having learning issues. The parents I knew who did this used it for extra time on the SATS and other tests. They had no problem using whatever method was going to help their kids get into college. It was insane 12 years ago in Silicon Valley where my kids grew up, can’t even image how more crazed it’s gotten.
Somewhere in her very luxurious, very white HW residence, Aunt Becky is screaming unintelligibly with fury, smashing porcelain trinkets, ready now to sell out both her husband and daughters if that gets her a smaller sentence. She could’ve taken a deal. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
If I remember rightly, her plea deal included two years of prison time, and a fine double that of the original bribe. That’s when the arrogance kicked in and made Aunt Becky decide to fight this.
The learning disability thing makes me furious. It’s possible that it’s true but I doubt it. Because of their actions people with real learning disabilities like my niece who is deaf or my beloved nephew who suffered a brain injury when he was younger and has multiple significant learning hardships will have a harder time getting extra time or help on tests. Learning disabilities aren’t just “oh I don’t like tests.”’ My nephew had to relearn how to move every muscle in his body, he has suffered from social and physical and other isolation and had to fight for everything he has. It makes me want to punch anyone for pretending that their kid has a “disability” when it is convenient. Stand in the school of a person with disability all the time not when it benefits too or as an excuse for a crime. Sorry. I’m very passionate on this.
And then she will write a tell-all memoir of what she learned in jail.
I am a special educator. I have worked at Title I schools and high-SES schools. I know this will come as no surprise, but even in public (special) education, the rich get richer. There are all sorts of problems with the way special education is administered in the US, but the inequities between poor kids and wealthy kids (kids whose parents know how to work within a bureaucracy, have time and energy to spend on challenging a district’s decisions, and have advocates/lawyers to back them up) is astounding. If FH’a daughters have serious learning disabilities, she could have gotten them testing accommodations legitimately and, if she’s lying/exaggerating about the disability, she could have gotten their doctor to write a diagnosis of ADHD or anxiety and pushed the school to write an IEP or 504. All of that would have been legal. I have had a student who had an accommodation to retake a test as many times as needed and many who get copies of the teachers’ notes. At my high-SES high school, we get a steep increase in requests for special education testing due to test anxiety/inattention at the end of sophomore year (because parents want a paper trail so they can apply for testing accommodations the following year for the SATs). In my experience, if a parent shows up at a meeting with a lawyer, the school district capitulates even if the educators don’t agree with the request.
This is what confuses me. This all could have been handled legally. FH could have pushed for a learning disabled diagnosis even if she did not initially get one. Not fair, but it would be legal. Why the need for the bribery mess? Her explanation just isn’t honest. They robbed the students who should have received the spots. That’s what sticks in my craw the most.
* ps To those above saying learning disabled students should go to less academic schools, I don’t believe this is accurate. (I am talking legitimate diagnosed cases, not this mess.) You can go to Oxford or Cambridge if you are dyslexic. Learning disabled does not correlate with intelligence. The student learns and studies differently, but could be highly clever (or not). I, for one, would like the cleverest, hardest working students at the most challenging programmes, learning disabled or not.
Ocho, I didn’t mean to imply that all earning disabled students are only capable of going to lower tier schools. Certainly there are students in the Ivies and other elite schools with learning differences and other disabilities. But you have to get in on your own merit, meaning you had to have the stellar grades and test scores (and likely accommodations via an IEP throughout high school and on standardized tests) and essays and other outstanding qualities that the schools look for. They don’t lower their standards even if you have a diagnosed/documented disability although most will provide access to accommodations after admission.
Clearly Felicity’s daughter didn’t have the academic credentials or any kind of paper trail to back up a lifelong disability or she probably wouldn’t have resorted to fraud. Instead she should have maybe accepted the fact that her daughter was not destined for the Ivies upon high school graduation and that should have been fine.
Truth. The richer they are, the more they work the system.
Tbh, I’m surprised she even got any time.
She hasn’t actually been sentenced yet. This is just the prosecutor’s recommendation. I wouldn’t be surprised if she only gets community service and a fine, or maybe a week in prison.
Ahhh okay. Thanks for clarifying that
Oh gosh, I hope that’s not all she gets.
Although what she did was wrong , I give her credit for owning up to it, accepting guilt and ready to pay the consequences.
Of course Hollywood will get a slap on the wrist but who said life was fair.
The willingness to throw people in jail in America never ceases to astonish.
The willingness to throw “poor” people in jail. This is getting a lot of attention because some rich people may actually have to spend a couple nights in jail.
Yes, if they are guilty, absolutely they should go to jail!
I hope she does serve SOME time. As others have said, she had the money for private tutors and honestly – acting does not require education as many actors don’t have degrees. She looks remorseful as she well should and another punishment is that she looks like all of this has aged her 10 years and you gotta know for any Holllywood lady, that in and of itself is a huge punishment.
Curious if anybody here has watched her movie on Netlfix or did that tank?
Guys, I wouldn’t want to serve one hour in federal prison. Even the minimum securities are no country clubs. One month is one more month than I’d want to do!
A month (or less) is certainly a more lenient sentence than your average person of color would get but I don’t think the answer is to throw more prison at her; rather, I think they just shouldn’t imprison people (regardless of privilege, class, race, etc.) for this sort of crime. Yes, what she did was wrong (and she knew it), but you’re really only hurting the public/taxpayers who are paying for the incarceration, and they’re essentially the victim in the first place. Community service – lots of it, and really enforced – seems like a much better option.
If her daughters were diagnosed as learning disabled they would have gotten more time on the tests or maybe even an individual testing area but NOT what Felicity bought – someone to actually take the test for them. Apparently the paid test taker increased her daughters’ score by 400 points.
Yes, is you read the affidavit, that was part of the scam—get a doctor to sign off on the kid having a Learning disability, even though they didn’t have one, so that they could request more time on the test, which gave some parents ability to travel their kid to one of the facilities where the proctors were also in on the scam. If the kid was still not able to make it to one of the places where they had an accomplice proctor, then they would straight up have them falsely the documents for the kids.
Question are the doctor’s who signs off on such affidavits held to charges as well? If they aren’t,, they sure as heck should be.
I’m disgusted if that is all she gets. That is pure BS. White, black, orange, or green, whomever you are, if you’re found guilty, you should be held to the same penalties as everyone else. This white privilege nonsense is getting out of control. Skin color shouldn’t be a factor when being charged with a crime. Personally, I think any judge who sentences people unfairly should be held accountable for it. Yeah, i know I’m dreaming, but it is just so friggen aggravating.