US & Canada

Actress Felicity Huffman begins 14-day jail term for cheating scam

Huffman leaves her sentencing hearing in September (FILE) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Huffman leaves her sentencing hearing in September (FILE)

US actress Felicity Huffman has reported to prison to begin a 14-day sentence for her role in a nationwide university cheating scandal.

The Desperate Housewives star turned herself in at a federal prison in Dublin, California - 40 miles (65km) east of San Francisco - on Tuesday.

The 56-year-old admitted to hiring someone to correct the answers on her daughter's university entrance exam.

Actress Lori Loughlin has also been charged in the cheating plot.

US district Judge Indira Talwani had given Huffman until 25 October to report to prison. She had requested to be jailed near her family - including her Oscar winning actor-husband William H Macy - in California.

"Ms Huffman is prepared to serve the term of imprisonment Judge Talwani ordered as one part of the punishment she imposed for Ms Huffman's actions," a representative for the actress said in a statement.

"She will begin serving the remainder of the sentence Judge Talwani imposed - one year of supervised release, with conditions including 250 hours of community service - when she is released."

Actress Huffman given jail time over college scam

Huffman pleaded guilty in May to mail fraud after admitting to paying $15,000 (£12,000) to an accomplice to cheat on her daughter's exam.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California

During her sentencing on 13 September, the Emmy award-winning actress apologised for her actions, saying: "I was frightened, I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done."

Prosecutors had requested that she serve a month in prison.

In a 4 September letter to the judge requesting leniency, she said she had committed the crime out of concern that her daughter's low maths scores could ruin her dream of attending the university of her choice.

She is expected to serve the full 14 days, because the federal prison system does not allow time off for good behaviour for sentences less than one year.

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Media captionHow US university admissions are broken

Lori Loughlin, best known for her role on TV programme Full House, and her fashion designer husband are still fighting charges after prosecutors accused them of paying to have their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as athletes, despite the fact that neither child played the sport.

Officials says the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues, is the largest-ever university admissions case prosecuted by the US Justice Department.

Fifty-one people have been charged with participating in the alleged conspiracy.

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