Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman arrested following cheating scandal

Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 1:21PM

Felicity Huffman was arrested this morning on fraud charges after she was allegedly linked to a long-running college admissions cheating scam.

The former Desperate Housewives star was among 50 people charged by federal authorities with being part of a bribery scheme that involved cheating on the SAT and ACT tests and parents paying coaches "enormous sums" to get their children into elite universities and colleges by fabricating their athletic credentials.

The 56-year-old is accused of paying $15,000 to a made-up charitable organisation that helped her daughter cheat on the SATs.

Following her arrest, Huffman appeared in federal court and was released on a US$250,000 (NZ$365,100) bail but must restrict her travel to the United States.

Her husband, William H. Macy, has not been charged and authorities have not said why.

Actress Lori Loughlin, who is best known for playing Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis on '90s sitcom Full House, was also charged but was not taken into custody.

Prosecutors say Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid bribes of US$500,000 (NZ$730,300) to a school coach to falsely state that their daughters were recruits for the rowing team at University of Southern California - even though they were not part of the team.

Federal prosecutors charged 33 affluent parents, including CEOs, prominent financiers and television stars, with taking part in an elaborate conspiracy.

None of the students were charged because prosecutors said their parents were the scheme's principal actors.

Authorities obtained the names of the alleged participants after cornering a California businessman who ran the operation, and are reported to have secretly recorded telephone calls with Huffman and a witness, while emails from Loughlin are said to have helped to implicate her in the scam.