Actress Felicity Huffman tearfully pleaded guilty on Monday to paying to rig a college-entrance exam for her daughter, part of a wide-ranging scandal in which wealthy parents used fraud to secure their children spots at prominent USA universities.
At a federal court in Boston, Huffman admitted to slipping USD$15,000 (AUD$21,600) to William "Rick" Singer, who helped fabricate a college entrance exam score for Huffman's daughter.
Huffman is expected to admit to allegations that she paid $15,000 to have someone correct the answers on her daughter's Saturday. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Times notes, prosecutors have said they would recommend capping her sentence at just four months.
More than a dozen parents have agreed to plead guilty in the biggest university admissions scandal ever brought to court in the US.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani asked Huffman if she was pleading guilty without any threats or pressure.
Federal prosecutors recommended a four-month prison sentence, a $20,000 fine and 12 months of supervised release. They are scheduled to be sentenced in September. Singer told the couple he "controlled" a private school in West Hollywood, where Huffman's daughter would take the exam; he explained that an accomplice, 36-year-old Mark Riddell, would proctor the exam and correct their daughter's answers after she finished the test.
Singer recorded a number of conversations in which he and wealthy parents discussed these schemes, including a conversation with Huffman. The money was disguised as a donation to Singer's charitable foundation, prosecutors said.
In a mea culpa a month earlier, Huffman said she would not contest the government's allegations and apologized to the public and her friends, family and daughter, who Huffman said knew nothing of the test-fixing scheme.
Devin Sloane also pleaded guilty today. A judge will have the final say on what sentence Huffman actually receives. The couple also considered using Singer's services for their younger daughter, but ultimately opted not to, according to a criminal complaint. Authorities say Sloane paid $250,000 to get his son admitted to USC as a fake water polo recruit by purchasing the requisite equipment online and hiring a graphic designer to falsify photos of his son playing the sport for his USC application.
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