The ''Desperate Housewives'' actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison for her role in what the authorities label as the most massive college admission scam ever prosecuted.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also ordered Friday one year of probation for the Hollywood star, a $30,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service. It is the first sentencing of a parent involved in the scandal.
Earlier this year, Huffman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. She admitted paying $15,000 to get the answers of the SAT exam of her daughter corrected.
A prosecutor in Boston federal court Friday argued for a one-month prison term, stating that the actress showed disrespect and disdain for the rule of law by cheating.
Her legal team opposed saying that she should not be punished too hard because of her popularity and wealth. Judge Talwani pointed out that no prison time for the actress would send the public a wrong message.
Surrounded by her family in the courtroom, Felicity Hoffman took the word to explain her actions. Reading from a piece of paper, she apologized for what she had done.
The actress highlighted that there were no excuses or justifications for her actions. She then addressed all the students who have been working hard to pass their SAT exams, saying that she offered them her sincere apologies.
In an earlier letter Huffman submitted to the judge before the hearing, she explained that she feared that her daughter, Sophia, who has learning disabilities, would not get a high enough math score.
More than 50 people among which parents, coaches, test administrator, and others were charged in the college admissions scandal. According to the prosecutors the master mind behind the scheme was William ''Rick'' Singer.
The authorities claimed Singer either facilitated cheating on standardized tests or bribed university coaches to give students an advantage in the admission process.
30 out of the 50 charged are parents, and they were all accused of conspiring with Singer. More than half of these parents, including Huffman, have already pleaded guilty.
The former Stanford sailing coach, John Vandemoer, was the first one to be sentenced on the case but he served no jail time. In March this year, Singer also pleaded guilty to four charges related to bringing college officials and cheating on standardized examinations.
Felicity Huffman, 56, should report to prison on Oct. 25.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that Felicity Huffman should had received a longer jail time?