Huffman, best known for her role in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” was implicated in the massive college admissions cheating scandal along with other wealthy and famous parents who allegedly paid millions to have their children placed in elite universities.
A source told the Los Angeles Times that Huffman and other defendants had recently received notice that they might face arrest. Sources familiar with Huffman’s arrest told the paper that FBI agents with guns drawn showed up at the actress’ home at 6 a.m. to take her into custody.
Huffman made a brief court appearance later Tuesday afternoon where the judge asked her: “I’m not asking you to admit or deny the charges against you but do you understand what the government claims you did?” She replied: “Yes.”
Her husband, actor William H. Macy, sat in court as the judge ordered her released on a $250,000 bond. Huffman is scheduled to appear in court March 29 in Boston.
Huffman, 54, allegedly paid $15,000, disguised as a charitable donation, so her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scam, according to court documents.
Court papers said a cooperating witness met with Huffman and Macy at their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he “controlled” an SAT testing center and could have somebody correct her daughter’s wrong answers. The person told investigators the couple agreed to the plan.
Their daughter, Sofia, an aspiring actress who attends Los Angeles High School of the Arts, allegedly took the test in Dec. 2017 and got a score of 1420, a 400-point improvement from her first test, the LA Times reported.
Huffman and several other defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Macy was not charged; authorities did not say why.
David Mamet, Oscar-nominated writer of “Wag the Dog” and “The Verdict,” came to their defense in the form of an open letter, citing the double standards that exist in the admissions process and calling many of its policies a “corrupt joke,” Deadline reported.
“The unqualified may be accepted for many reasons, among them, as Legacies, and on account of large donations made by their parents,” Mamet wrote. “I do not see the difference between getting a kid into school by bribing the Building Committee, and by bribing someone else. But, apparently, the second is against the Law. So be it.”
The 50 parents ensnared in the massive cheating scandal allegedly funneled money to William Rick Singer, the California man pinpointed as the scheme’s “ringleader.” The money was allegedly used to bribe athletic coaches or for help cheating on entrance exams so their children could be admitted into prestigious schools, including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and University of Southern California.
No students have been charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of their parents’ plans. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking action against the students.
Another big celebrity name on the list was actress Laurie Loughlin, known for playing Aunt Becky on the family sitcom “Full House.” Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both face charges for allegedly giving $500,000 to have their two daughters’ athletic records falsified.
Giannulli was released on a $1 million dollar bond and had his travel restricted to the continental United States. Loughlin was expected to surrender Wednesday, according to a report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.