A federal judge on Friday sentenced Huffman to 14 days in prison after she pleaded guilty in May to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
“Trying to be a good mother doesn’t excuse this,” Judge Indira Talwani said before handing down the sentence, which included a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service, and supervised release for one year.
“I can only say that I am so sorry, Sophia,” Huffman, 56, said minutes earlier, her voice cracking through tears. “I was frightened. I was stupid and I was so wrong.”
After the judge left, Macy got up from a front row seat in a dark gray suit and rubbed Huffman’s shoulders and kissed the top of her head as she continued to cry. She must report to prison within six weeks.
Huffman admitted to paying a Harvard graduate $15,000 to correct Sophia’s answers on the SAT, securing her a 400-point boost on the college entrance exam. Prosecutors had asked that Huffman serve one month in prison, plus fines and community service.
Talwani said the sentence was based on the fact that the testing services involved in the SAT score-rigging suffered no “measurable loss” or “pecuniary harm,” Huffman had no previous criminal history, and that she accepted responsibility and admitted guilt.
“This is a starting point for me, but it’s a starting point I’m expected to get correct,” Talwani said.
Prominent college coaches, business executives, and Hollywood stars such as Huffman and Full House actress Lori Loughlin, were arrested in March over their alleged plans to pay their children’s way into schools like Yale, Stanford, and the University of Southern California. FBI agents surrounded Huffman’s Los Angeles home, with guns drawn, and arrested the star in the nationwide bust that snared more than 50 people.
Huffman is the first of 34 parents to be sentenced in the scheme. The dozens of parents charged in the case paid up to $500,000 to get their children into elite schools, according to authorities, in some cases by labeling them as recruited athletes for sports they had never even played. Fifteen parents have pleaded guilty and another 19 are fighting the charges, according to the Associated Press.
Huffman, the most famous person charged, is best known for her role on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, for which she won an Emmy Award in 2005. The following year Huffman was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for her role in the film Transamerica. She appeared in two Netflix specials this year, including Ava DuVernay’s critically praised series about the 1989 Central Park jogger case, When They See Us.