Felicity Huffman gets two weeks for college scam 

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“Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was sentenced to two weeks behind bars on Friday, Sept. 13 for her participation in a nationwide college admissions scandal. Huffman, 56, paid $15,000 to manipulate her daughter’s SAT scores, later publicly apologizing for not trusting her to get into college on her own volition. The scandal widened public perception of the lengths wealthy individuals will go to get their children into prestigious colleges and universities across the country.  

Unfurled in March of this year, the college admissions scam charged 51 people in a scheme to cheat the college admissions process at nine schools –  Georgetown, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA, USC, University of San Diego, UT-Austin, Wake Forest and Yale. Taking seven years, the college admissions bribery scandal amounted to the largest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. The case stated that parents bribed the aforementioned colleges and labeled their children as athletes for sports they didn’t play.  

“I can only say I am so sorry, Sophia,” Huffman said Friday. “I was frightened. I was stupid, and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done. I have inflicted more damage than I could ever imagine. I now see all the things that led me down this road, but ultimately none of the reasons matter because at the end of the day I had a choice. I could have said no.”  

Huffman penned an 11th-hour plea to the judge overseeing her case, designed to provide any context left out in the case, and presumably provoke enough compassion to keep her from doing time, failing in doing so.  

“My own fears and lack of confidence, combined with a daughter who has learning disabilities, often made me insecure and feel highly anxious from the beginning,” Huffman wrote. “I find motherhood bewildering.” 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen delivered his rationale for Huffman’s brief incarceration Friday.  

“But with all due respect to the defendant, welcome to parenthood,” Rosen remarked. “Parenthood is terrifying, exhausting and stressful, but that’s what every parent goes through. What parenthood does not do, it does not make you a felon, it does not make you cheat, in fact it makes you want to serve as a positive role model for your children.” 

Huffman’s meager sentencing has brought comparisons to the recent case of Tanya McDowell. McDowell, a homeless woman from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was sentenced to five years in prison for using a friend’s permanent address to enroll her son in public school. If served to completion, that is over 130 times the amount of time served than Huffman’s two weeks.  

“We have a criminal justice system which is racist, broken and must be fundamentally reformed,” tweeted Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.  

“It can both be true that Felicity Huffman got an incredibly light sentence compared to an endless list of black & poor ppl currently sitting behind bars AND that it doesn’t make sense for her to go to prison,” added political activist Clint Smith. “We can & should think differently about what accountability looks like.” 

Huffman must report to prison on Oct. 25 to serve out her sentence. She must also pay a $30,000 fine, undergo supervised release for one year and commute 250 hours of community service. 


Daniel Cohn is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.cohn@uconn.edu.

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