DUBLIN, Calif. — Actress Felicity Huffman was released Friday from a federal prison in California, after serving 11 days of a two-week sentence for her role in the college admissions scam, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Huffman, the “Desperate Housewives” star, was the first of the more than 30 parents charged in the sprawling criminal case to begin serving a prison sentence. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud for paying $15,000 to the scam’s mastermind as part of a scheme to cheat on the SATs and boost her daughter’s test scores.
Huffman reported to federal prison October 15, according to a representative.
She was set free because of a bureau policy that allows inmates to leave before a release date that “falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, on the last preceding weekday unless it is necessary to detain the inmate for another jurisdiction seeking custody under a detainer, or for any other reason which might indicate that the inmate should not be released until the inmate’s scheduled release date,” according to the BOP.
CNN has sought comment from Huffman’s attorney.
Huffman “will begin serving the remainder of the sentence (US District) Judge (Indira) Talwani imposed — one year of supervised release, with conditions including 250 hours of community service — when she is released,” her representative said in a statement at the start of her prison term.
She apologized college-bound students
In a letter to the court, Huffman tried to explain why she carried out the crime.
“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot,” Huffman said in the three-page letter. “I see the irony in that statement now because what I have done is the opposite of fair. I have broken the law, deceived the educational community, betrayed my daughter and failed my family.”
In court during her sentencing, Huffman apologized to the judge, her daughters and her husband, actor William H. Macy.
“I am deeply ashamed of what I have done,” she told the judge. “At the end of the day I had a choice to make. I could have said, ‘no.'”
Huffman echoed that sentiment in a statement released to the news media, saying, “There are no excuses or justifications for my actions. Period.”
“And I especially want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children,” she said in her statement.
The federal correctional institution in Dublin is considered a “low security” prison with 1,235 female inmates in Alameda County, about 35 miles outside of San Francisco.
Eleven parents who pleaded guilty to conspiracy fraud have been sentenced for their roles in the college admissions scam. Others, including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, are fighting the charges.
Punishments meted out so far have ranged from five months in prison for Agustin Huneeus Jr., who participated in both the test-cheating and athlete-recruitment aspects of the scheme, down to no prison time for Peter Jan Sartorio, who paid $15,000 to have answers corrected on his daughter’s exam.