Felicity Huffman returns to court May 13 to plead guilty in college admissions scam
Actress Felicity Huffman is one of 13 parents who negotiated plea agreements in the college admissions scandal. USA TODAY
BOSTON – “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman will plead guilty on May 13 to charges that she took part in a sweeping college admissions cheating scam.
Huffman had been scheduled to enter her plea in federal court in Boston on May 21. On Monday, a judge agreed to move up the hearing because the lead prosecutor will be out of town.
The actress agreed earlier this month to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Authorities say she paid $15,000 to have someone correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT exam to artificially inflate her score.
At the time, she released a statement of contrition in which she said she felt "deep regret and shame" for the pain she caused.
"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 wrote. "I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community."
According to the terms of the plea deal, which Huffman signed on April 4 and announced four days later, her prison term – estimated to be in the four-to-10-month range – will be followed by a year of probation.
She agreed to forfeit the $15,000 she paid to have her elder daughter's SAT exam corrected, and she must also pay a $20,000 fine, with financial restitution to be determined at sentencing.
At the hearing, a judge will likely question Huffman to make sure she fully understands what she has agreed to and then set a date for her sentencing.
Huffman was charged in March along with dozens of other prominent parents and coaches at elite universities. Prosecutors say other parents paid an admissions consultant to bribe coaches to get their children admitted as fake athletic recruits.
College admissions scam:Prosecutors want Felicity Huffman to serve 4-10 months
"Full House" actress Lori Loughlin, the other celebrity charged in the college admissions case, filed court papers on April 15 announcing her intention to plead not guilty but waived her right to appear in court. Lawyers for Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Gianulli, entered their not guilty pleas in court in Boston on Monday.
An initial status hearing for them and other parents who have chosen to fight the charges against them is set for June 3.
She and Giannulli are accused of having paid $500,000 to bribe athletic officials at the University of Southern California so that daughters Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose would be falsely designated as crew recruits, thus easing their admission.
Last week, Loughlin and Giannulli were among several defendants who struck an agreement with the Department of Justice to seal their children's grades, college applications and entrance exam scores in an effort to keep them out of the press.
Don't expect to see Olivia Jade's grades:College applications, academic records to be placed under seal in college admissions case
More trouble for Lori Loughlin:'Full House' star charged with money laundering
Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY