Felicity Huffman has agreed to plead guilty in the college admissions cheating scam that has ensnared wealthy parents, Fox News has learned.
On Monday, the 56-year-old actress announced her decision, explaining that she accepts “full responsibility” for her actions.
“I am pleading guilty to the charge brought against me by the United States Attorney’s Office,” the “Desperate Housewives” alum said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions,” Huffman continued. “I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community. I want to apologize to them and, especially, I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.
“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty,” she concluded.
“I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done.”
The Department of Justice revealed on Monday that Huffman was one of the 11 defendants, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, and have agreed to plead guilty pursuant to plea agreements.
In addition, two other defendants, who are facing other charges, both agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, federal prosecutors said. The former head coach for the men’s tennis team at the University of Texas at Austin was also charged and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.
Last week, Huffman appeared in a Boston federal court. She is accused of paying $15,000 disguised as a tax-deductible charitable donation so her daughter could take part in an apparently rigged college entrance exam.
Court documents stated that a cooperating witness met with the actress and her husband, “Shameless” star William H. Macy, at their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he “controlled” a testing center and could have someone secretly alter her daughter’s answers. The person told investigators the couple agreed to the plan.
Huffman was arrested and released on a $250,000 bond last month. Macy was not charged.
More than four dozen people have been charged in the nationwide scam, which is alleged to have placed students in top-tier schools like Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas. A federal investigation into the matter – dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” – has been ongoing for more than a year.
Fellow actress Lori Loughlin and Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are also charged in the scam. They are not among those who’ve agreed to plead guilty and haven’t publicly addressed the allegations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.