Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman was arrested by FBI agents very early on the morning of Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
As she opened the door to her Los Angeles home at 6 a.m yesterday, she was met by FBI agents with their guns drawn. The agents handcuffed her after informing her that she has been charged in a college admissions fraud case.
Huffman and other affluent people were arrested after they allegedly took part in a scheme to get their children into elite universities through fraud, bribes and lies.
In what is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted, wealthy parents, Hollywood actresses, coaches and college prep executives have been accused of carrying out a nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious universities, according to a federal indictment.
The scheme had two major parts. In the first part, parents allegedly paid a college prep organization to take the test on behalf of students or to correct their answers. In the second part, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their abilities, prosecutors said. Federal court documents also allege that some defendants created fake athletic profiles for students to make them appear to be successful athletes.
Desperate Housewives star, Felicity Huffman spent hours in federal custody at a detention center in downtown Los Angeles before making a brief court appearance with several other defendants on Tuesday afternoon. Her husband, actor William H. Macy, sat in court as the magistrate ordered her free on $250,000 bail.
Huffman is accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme, according to court records. Prosecutors alleged Huffman met with a confidential witness who explained that he could control an SAT testing center and could arrange for someone to proctor her daughter’s test and correct it.
Huffman’s older daughter allegedly took the test in December 2017 and received a score of 1420. That was a 400-point improvement from her first test. In October 2018, Huffman was recorded by the FBI discussing participating in the same scheme for her younger daughter; however, she did not ultimately pursue it, according to LA Times.
In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation that went by the name “Operation Varsity Blues.” Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, according to Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts.
The scheme, which began in 2011, centered on the owner of a for-profit Newport Beach college admissions company that wealthy parents paid to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and to falsify athletic records of students to enable them to secure admission to elite schools, including UCLA, USC, Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, according to court records.
YouTube star, Olivia Jade Giannulli, who is the 19-year-old daughter of “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and Mossimo clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, was also ensnared in the elaborate scheme aimed at getting students into elite colleges.
Her mother Lori Loughlin was among those charged in a nationwide college admissions scam on Tuesday. Loughlin, 54, and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, allegedly paid $500,000 for their daughters Isabella, 20, and YouTube star Olivia Jade, 19, to attend the University of Southern California as crew team recruits — though the girls allegedly never even were rowers.
Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli and other defendants are required to appear for arraignment in a Boston courthouse on March. 29.