News | World News | Judge sets bond at $250,000 for Felicity Huffman in college bribery scandal

Judge sets bond at $250,000 for Felicity Huffman in college bribery scandal

Popular Articles

Felicity Huffman is released on $250,000 bond while Lori Loughlin flies to turn herself in after both stars were charged in massive college admissions scandal where parents paid $6million in bribes to get their kids into elite schools

  • Huffman and Loughlin are among 50 people who have been accused of paying bribes to get their children into America's top colleges 
  • The Desperate Housewives star allegedly paid $15,000 to arrange for someone to secretly change her daughter's answers during the SAT exam  
  • Loughlin and husband allegedly agreed to pay bribes of $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to USC crew
  • The two girls did not participate in crew, and Loughlin's husband Mossimo Giannulli has also been charged in the scandal and was arrested on Tuesday 

By Anneta Konstantinides and Chris Spargo For Dailymail.com

Published: 21:05 EDT, 12 March 2019 | Updated: 22:20 EDT, 12 March 2019

185

View
comments

Felicity Huffman has been released on $250,000 bond after she was charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal. 

The Desperate Housewives star is among 50 people, including Lori Loughlin, who have been accused of paying bribes to get their children into America's top colleges. 

Huffman allegedly paid $15,000, which she disguised as a charitable donation, to arrange for someone to change her daughter's answers during the SAT exams.  

Charging documents state that both Huffman and her husband, actor William H Macy, agreed to the plan to help daughters Sofia, 18, and 16-year-old Georgia.   

A federal judge has released Felicity Huffman on $250,000 after she was charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal to help get her daughter into one of America's top colleges. Huffman is pictured here with her daughters and husband William H Macy
A federal judge has released Felicity Huffman on $250,000 after she was charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal to help get her daughter into one of America's top colleges. Huffman is pictured here with her daughters and husband William H Macy

A federal judge has released Felicity Huffman on $250,000 after she was charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal to help get her daughter into one of America's top colleges. Huffman is pictured here with her daughters and husband William H Macy 

The Desperate Housewives star is among 50 people, including Lori Loughlin (pictured with her daughters), who have been accused of paying $6m total in bribes in the massive scandal
The Desperate Housewives star is among 50 people, including Lori Loughlin (pictured with her daughters), who have been accused of paying $6m total in bribes in the massive scandal

The Desperate Housewives star is among 50 people, including Lori Loughlin (pictured with her daughters), who have been accused of paying $6m total in bribes in the massive scandal 

Macy was in court on Tuesday to support his wife and sat in the front row. Authorities have not disclosed why he was not implicated in the scandal. 

Huffman has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. A magistrate judge ordered the actress to restrict her travel to the continental US and she surrendered her passport to the court.  

Seven FBI agents showed up to Huffman's home in Hollywood Hills at 6am on Tuesday, drew their weapons, and ordered the actress to come out and surrender. 

Sources told TMZ that Huffman, Macy, and their two daughters had been asleep inside the home when the agents arrived. 

One FBI source said that the guns were drawn as a precaution - a decision that is always left to the agents' discretion when an arrest takes place.  

Huffman was then taken to a federal building and processed by federal marshals.    

Meanwhile, Loughlin is currently en route to Los Angeles and will surrender to authorities on Wednesday morning. 

The Full House star, 54, is flying from Canada to Los Angeles to turn herself in. She has likewise been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Both Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli were charged. They allegedly paid $500,000 to get their daughters Olivia Jade, 19, and Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California. 

Macy was in Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday to support his wife. Authorities have not disclosed why he was not implicated in the scandal
Macy was in Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday to support his wife. Authorities have not disclosed why he was not implicated in the scandal

Macy was in Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday to support his wife. Authorities have not disclosed why he was not implicated in the scandal

Charging documents state that both Huffman and Macy (pictured walking into court) agreed to a plan to pay $15,000 to help get their daughter's answers secretly changed on the SAT
Charging documents state that both Huffman and Macy (pictured walking into court) agreed to a plan to pay $15,000 to help get their daughter's answers secretly changed on the SAT

Charging documents state that both Huffman and Macy (pictured walking into court) agreed to a plan to pay $15,000 to help get their daughter's answers secretly changed on the SAT 

Sources said that FBI agents likewise arrived at Loughlin's home on Tuesday morning, only to find out she was in Vancouver. They took Giannulli in custody. 

Giannulli's bond was set at $1million, forcing him to put the family's primary residence up as collateral to guarantee the bond. 

The designer also had to surrender his passport to the court, according to Variety

Like Huffman, his travel has been restricted to continental US. Loughlin's attorney has requested that she be allowed to travel to Vancouver, where she films for the Hallmark Channel, after she is arraigned. 

The judge said the request sounded reasonable but must be decided at a later date. 

Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid the half-million dollar sum to get their daughters into USC, which Giannulli graduated from in 1987, as fake rowing recruits. Neither daughter participated in crew.    

The scheme was uncovered by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Boston, who discovered the affluent parents involved had paid a total of $6million in bribes to get their children into elite schools including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and UCLA. 

Huffman has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. A magistrate judge ordered the actress to restrict her travel to the continental US
Huffman has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. A magistrate judge ordered the actress to restrict her travel to the continental US

Huffman has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. A magistrate judge ordered the actress to restrict her travel to the continental US 

Macy (pictured walking into the courthouse) has yet to comment on any of the allegations
Macy (pictured walking into the courthouse) has yet to comment on any of the allegations
Macy is pictured walking into the federal courthouse on Tuesday
Macy is pictured walking into the federal courthouse on Tuesday

Macy is pictured walking into the federal courthouse on Tuesday

In many instances the children were unaware that their parents had paid these bribes, according to federal documents.

Most of those charged either paid to get higher SAT scores or faked an athletic resume that, with the participation of a bribed college coach, helped the children get accepted to a college as a team's recruit. 

Prosecutors said in court on Tuesday that some students also lied about their ethnicity on applications to take advantage of affirmative action.  

William Rick Singer, the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal.

The documents claim that since 2011, Singer has received $25million from parents which was used to payoff or bribe individuals who could 'designate their children as recruited athletes, or other favored admissions categories'. 

Huffman and Macy allegedly gave a $15,000 donation to a group that later paid a man who proctored the SAT to her daughter (above)
Huffman and Macy allegedly gave a $15,000 donation to a group that later paid a man who proctored the SAT to her daughter (above)

Huffman and Macy allegedly gave a $15,000 donation to a group that later paid a man who proctored the SAT to her daughter (above)

A recorded phone conversation makes it evident that Huffman is aware that her daughter will be assisted in the test (above)
A recorded phone conversation makes it evident that Huffman is aware that her daughter will be assisted in the test (above)

A recorded phone conversation makes it evident that Huffman is aware that her daughter will be assisted in the test (above)

In one call from last year, Huffman revealed she planned to use the same system for her younger daughter (above) after it worked for her older daughter
In one call from last year, Huffman revealed she planned to use the same system for her younger daughter (above) after it worked for her older daughter

In one call from last year, Huffman revealed she planned to use the same system for her younger daughter (above) after it worked for her older daughter

In his biography on the website for the Newport Beach-based Key Foundation, Singer is heralded for his ability to get children into the college of their choice. 

Singer is also praised for 'helping students discover their life passion, and guiding them along with their families through the complex college admissions maze'. 

Huffman paid a $15,000 'charitable contribution to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter,' according to the complaint.  

She also 'later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time, for her younger daughter, before deciding not to do so'. 

The charging documents state that Huffman had the site where her daughter took the SATs moved from her own high school to a test center in West Hollywood.

Her test was then administered by a proctor who had flown in from Tampa and told investigators that he 'facilitated cheating, either by correcting the student's answers after the test or by actively assisting the student during the exam'. 

In this case, Huffman's daughter scored a 1420 out of 1600 in December 2017, which was a 400 point improvement from her PSAT results just one year prior. 

Documents revealed that Huffman and Macy decided at the last minute not to have their younger daughter take the SATs with assistance
Documents revealed that Huffman and Macy decided at the last minute not to have their younger daughter take the SATs with assistance

Documents revealed that Huffman and Macy decided at the last minute not to have their younger daughter take the SATs with assistance 

Soon after the proctor was paid $40,000 by Key Worldwide Foundation, the same organization that Huffman would later give a $15,000 donation to, according to the documents.  

The documents also include the transcript of a phone call between Huffman and the individual who facilitated the test in which she admits that her older daughter had assistance and expresses her desire for her younger daughter to get similar help. 

In a follow-up call just this past December, Huffman and Macy - who is only referred to as 'spouse' in the complaint - spoke about their younger daughter wanting to get into Georgetown.

It was then decided that the young girl would take the exam twice, once on her own and once with help, to ensure she got the score necessary to get into the prestigious DC university, it is claimed.

Then, at the last second, the couple decided not to have their daughter take the test with assistance.   

Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly emailed Singer in 2016 about their daughters' college prospects, stating that they wanted to do the necessary work to make sure the girls got into USC as opposed to ASU.

Emails obtained by investigators revealed it was soon decided that bribes would be paid to have the girls recruited onto the crew team. 

A short time after that, photos were taken of older daughter Isabella on a rowing machine. 

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to get daughters Olivia Jade, 19,(pictured) and Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California
Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to get daughters Olivia Jade, 19,(pictured) and Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California

Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 to get daughters Olivia Jade, 19,(pictured) and Isabella, 20, into the University of Southern California

Olivia Jade has cashed in on being student during her brief time at USC. She posted sponsored content for Amazon Prime on her Instagram account (above) in September that featured an image of her inside her USC dorm room
Olivia Jade has cashed in on being student during her brief time at USC. She posted sponsored content for Amazon Prime on her Instagram account (above) in September that featured an image of her inside her USC dorm room

Olivia Jade has cashed in on being student during her brief time at USC. She posted sponsored content for Amazon Prime on her Instagram account (above) in September that featured an image of her inside her USC dorm room

While Loughlin deleted all her social media accounts, her teen daughter's Instagram became flooded with trolls talking about the scandal
While Loughlin deleted all her social media accounts, her teen daughter's Instagram became flooded with trolls talking about the scandal
Pictured are recent comments on Olivia's Instagram account
Pictured are recent comments on Olivia's Instagram account

While Loughlin has deleted all her social media accounts, her teen daughter's Instagram became flooded with trolls talking about the scandal

Dr Donna Heinel, the senior associate athletic director at USC, presented Isabella as a potential athletic recruit a month later and she was approved for conditional admission.

It was then asked that a check be sent to Heinel for $50,000 from Giannulli, who a short time later asked if he could mention the story to the athletic director at USC when the two men were at Augusta, likely playing at the famed golf club.

Singer stated that this was not a good idea because when he discussed the possibility of Isabella's admission with him the year prior, he thought the family 'would be good for a million plus.'  

Isabella received her admission letter the following March, which was followed by another note requesting a donation of $200,000 to Key Worldwide Foundation. 

After the amount was wired to the organization, a note was returned that stated no good or services had been exchanged for the money - which according to the documents is false.

This same exact process was then repeated with younger daughter Olivia, it is claimed.

William Rick Singer (pictured at federal court on Tuesday), the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal
William Rick Singer (pictured at federal court on Tuesday), the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal

William Rick Singer (pictured at federal court on Tuesday), the founder of Key Worldwide Foundation, had been identified as the alleged mastermind behind the scandal 

Problems arose however when Olivia's guidance counselor became curious as to how she managed to receive admission based on her involvement in crew since she did not row. 

At the same time, Loughlin complained that her daughter was having difficulty filling out her other college applications, prompting Singer to ask an employee to take care of the task. 

An example of a student whose face was photoshopped onto another that was included in court documents
An example of a student whose face was photoshopped onto another that was included in court documents

An example of a student whose face was photoshopped onto another that was included in court documents

This was done so as not to draw attention to the fact that it was already confirmed Olivia had received conditional admission to USC. 

At some point, there was a very heated and public altercation between Giannulli and the counselor, which elicited an email from Heinel asking that it not happen again in the future so as to avoid detection. 

Everything began to fall apart in October 2018 when the IRS audited Key Worldwide and began to look into donations made by parents whose children were then admitted to USC. 

Loughlin and Giannulli were told by Singer to say they had given the $500,000 to the foundation to help 'underserved kids.'  

Singer was charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded guilty.  

 

Advertisement
Read more:
View All

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

By Shawn Arnette 12/03/2019 22:20:00