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Felicity Huffman has finally broken her silence on the Varsity Blues scandal that saw her spend 11 days in jail after bribing college officials $15,000 to fudge her daughter’s SAT scores, saying she felt she had ‘no option’ but to break the law.
Huffman paid $30,000 in fines and spent 11 days in jail after being charged with fraud.
She had paid Rick Singer $15,000 to fudge her daughter Sophia’s SAT scores in 2018 in order to land her a place at college and was among a group of wealthy, famous parents swept up in the scandal. Actress Lori Loughlin was also jailed for paying for both her daughters to be accepted into USC.
In her first public remarks outside of the courtroom, Huffman tells ABC that she thought it was ‘a joke’ when FBI agents turned up at her mansion to arrest her.
Felicity Huffman, in her first interview since the Varsity Blues scandal, said she felt she had no choice but to break the law to ‘give her daughter a future’
Huffman with daughters Georgia (far left) and Sophia (second from left) and husband William H. Macy at the 2019 Golden Globes. She was arrested months later for paying $15,000 to have someone fudge Sophia’s SAT score to get her into college
Huffman said she regretted the scheme but felt she had no choice at the time because Sophia, who she previously said has a learning disability, would not have been accepted otherwise.
Now, she is studying drama at Carnegie Mellon in New York.
‘It felt like I had to give my daughter a chance at a future. And so it was sort of like my daughter’s future, which meant I had to break the law,’ she said.
She and husband William H. Macy hired Singer to help Sophia improve her scores and get into college.
She claims the scheme was not obvious at first, but became plain when Singer told them Sophia would not be accepted into any schools without greasing the wheels.
Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giuannulli were also arrested and spent time in jail
‘After a year, he started to say your daughter is not going to get into any of the colleges that she wants to.
‘And I believed him. And so when he slowly started to present the criminal scheme, it seems like – and I know this seems crazy at the time – but that was my only option to give my daughter a future.
‘And I know hindsight is 20/20 but it felt like I would be a bad mother if I didn’t do it. So – I did it,’ she said.
Sophia was unaware that her parents had paid for someone to alter her test answers after she completed the SATS.
Lori Loughlin had her daughters pose on rowing machines as part of their fraudulent applications in which they claimed to be star athletes
In this photo released by prosecutors Isabella Giannulli appears to be posing on an ERG machine
Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in January of this year. He is pictured in July last year while awaiting sentencing
The scheme involved Singer paying off a handful of discreet SAT test supervisors who would inflate students’ scores once they had completed the exam.
On the day of the SAT test, she said Sophia was nervous and asking if they could go for ice cream afterwards.
‘She was going, ‘Can we get ice cream afterwards?'” Huffman recalls. “I’m scared about the test. What can we do that’s fun? And I kept thinking, turn around, just turn around. And to my undying shame, I didn’t,’ Huffman said.
Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giuliani had their daughters masquerade as sports stars, propping them up on rowing machines to fudge applications that presented them as athletes.