Prosecutors recommended Friday that Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman serve one month behind bars and pay a $20,000 fine for her role in the college admissions cheating scandal, according to a filing in Boston federal court.
The “Desperate Housewives” actress pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s answers on a college-entrance exam.
In their sentencing memorandum filed Friday, prosecutors also recommended that the 56-year-old actress, who earned an Oscar nod for “Transamerica,” serve one year of supervised release following her stint in federal custody. Prosecutors suggested in May they would seek as much as four months in prison for Huffman.
Huffman’s attorneys filed court papers asking that the judge sentence the actress to one year of probation and 250 hours of community service. More than two dozen people submitted letters of support to the court, including Huffman’s husband William H. Macy and “Desperate Housewives” co-star Eva Longoria.
But prosecutors wrote that anything less than a jail term would be insufficient, describing Huffman’s conduct as “deliberate and manifestly criminal,” according to the sentencing memorandum. The actress will be sentenced Sept. 13 in Boston.
“In the context of this case, neither probation nor home confinement — in a large home in the Hollywood Hills with an infinity pool — would constitute meaningful punishment or deter others from committing similar crimes,” prosecutors wrote.
They said that Huffman’s “efforts weren’t driven by need or desperation, but by a sense of entitlement, or at least moral cluelessness, facilitated by wealth and insularity.”
In her four-page letter to the judge, Huffman wrote that she was driven to participate in the college admission fraud out of “desperation to be a good mother. I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot.”
She added that she sees “the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair” and feels “a deep and abiding shame over what I have done.”
In his letter, Macy wrote that his wife’s only interest now is to “make amends and help her daughters heal and move on.”
“Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges in the scandal.
Dozens of parents and college athletic coaches were implicated in the nationwide bribery scandal, in which wealthy parents paid Newport Beach businessman William Rick Singer thousands of dollars to have their children’s entrance-exam scores doctored. In other cases, students were falsely admitted to elite universities as athletic recruits, even though they never had any experience in the sports for which they were being recruited, prosecutors said.