Several people who are well known throughout Oklahoma, including actress Felicity Huffman, have been charged in the highly-publicized college cheating scandal. Huffman received her sentence after entering a guilty plea in May to federal charges of mail fraud and honest services fraud. She admitted paying a man, who advertised himself as a consultant who could help parents get their children accepted to colleges, to improve her daughter’s SAT score. The arrangement required that she send the man’s charity a donation of $15,000.
Huffman’s defense attorneys urged the judge to spare the actress prison time because her case represented a first offense. Prosecutors recommended that the judge send her to prison for one month. Ultimately, the judge chose to sentence Huffman to 14 days in prison. The actress must also live under supervised release for 12 months, perform 250 hours of community service, and pay a fine of $30,000. After the sentencing, Huffman released a statement acknowledging that she had broken the law.
Huffman was one of over 50 people charged after an FBI investigation dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues” collected evidence about widespread illegal activities meant to help people get their children into colleges. Payments made to a consultant allegedly resulted in alterations to athletic or academic credentials.
Federal criminal charges that involve allegations of white-collar crimes have the potential to inflict lifelong consequences. A criminal defense attorney might advise a person confronted by such a situation. A person might learn about the penalties associated with a conviction and how to approach building a defense strategy. An attorney might find inconsistencies in the evidence and question the client’s association with an alleged crime during a trial. If the evidence appears strong, negotiating a plea agreement might be advisable.