Actress Felicity Huffman, one of the biggest names caught up in a college-admissions scandal that rocked elite universities around the country, was sentenced to 14 days behind bars on Friday for her role in the sweeping scam.
"I am deeply sorry to the students, schools, and universities, that are impacted by my actions," Huffman said, while choking up as she read a prepared statement.
"I take full responsibility for my actions and as a first step for making amends for my crime. I will accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate."
The one-time Oscar nominee, who came to court holding hands with her actor husband, William H. Macy, will also have to pay a fine of $30,000 and perform 250 hours of community service under the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani.
The judge said this scandal showed a greater imbalance in America, with rich parents able to give their kids more advantages.
"This is a system which does not have a pure meritocracy and a person in position of wealth and position you are is in a much easier position in this meritocracy of college admissions," Talwani said.
“In a system of that sort, in that context, that you took the step of obtaining one more advantage to put your child over theirs.”
The judge said she didn't relish sending Huffman to prison, but believed it was the right call.
"I don't think anyone wants to be going to prison, I do think this is the right sentence here," she said. "You move forward and you can rebuild your life after this. You pay your dues."
The actress was ordered to report to prison by Oct. 25.
As the hearing wrapped up, Macy came up to his wife and put his hands on her shoulders. She grabbed Macy's hand, and the actress' eyes appeared puffy as though she'd been crying.
"Ms. Huffman, I wish you success moving forward," the judge said.
"Thank you," Huffman responded.
Huffman, 56, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud in May for paying $15,000 to college fixer Rick Singer to cheat on daughter Sophia Grace Macy's SAT in 2017.
"I am so sorry Sophia," she said. "I was frightened. I was stupid and I was so wrong. I am deeply ashamed of what I have done."
Huffman paid for someone to proctor and correct Sophia’s test, which resulted in her score jumping 400 points above her PSAT performance to 1420 out of a possible 1600.
She was the first parent to be sentenced in the scheme.
Huffman told the judge she had second thoughts about the scheme as they drove to the testing center.
"I thought to myself, 'Turn around, turn the car around,' " she said."I am so ashamed."
When the cheating scandal came to light, Huffman's said her daughter was in disbelief.
"My daughter said, 'I don't know who you are anymore,' " Huffman said. "I have inflicted more damage than I could have imagined."
Prosecutors had wanted Huffman to spend a month in prison, to go along with supervised release and a $20,000 fine.
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